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and we're back...

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We just got back from our long-awaited, almost-didn't-happen, savor-every-second, week-long vacation.


To sum it up, it was a glorious, amazing, lovely 8 days that I will cherish forever and ever and ever. :)



And thank God I have over 1500 photos to help me remember!!


:)



Even though I took every oportunity to tell strangers that we were from "sunny san diego" (cause I'm weird like that and it's a good conversation-starter), that fact was pretty obvious by how excited the 5 of us were about the current weather, compared to the locals.





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From the second we got out of san diego county and saw the first bit of snow on the tip tops of some mountains, we were giddy. My Utah-family (and several other random people) kept apologizing for the weather, but I would have been pretty disappointed if there'd been nothing but blue skies and sunshine the whole week!


We put probably 80 miles or so on our rental car just in attempts to see the snow.

One day we drove up to Park City and got our first taste of actual falling snow....the girls were elated! We pulled off the freeway and played in it, on the side of the road:




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Then we drove further to one of the ski resorts, and we had the whole place to ourselves!



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Of course we didn't really have the right snow-gear. We froze our toesies and fingers (and may or may not have ruined Arissa favorite faux-suede boots) that's for sure, but it was so worth it.





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Snow is awesome for lots of reasons.....like:



1) It makes for great portrait shots because it creates instant, flattering under-lighting



2) It's sooo cold you just want to snuggle somebody!:






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SO much fun.

Today in San Diego it's got to be at least 90 degrees. And I am longing to be back at that empty ski resort, freezing my fingers, and grabbing someone to snuggle with!

Picnic on a whim









Friday and Saturday were TERRIBLY hot (for April) so when the weather changed on Sunday, we celebrated with a picnic on the lawn for dinner.






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Even impromptu meals need a good blessing:







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There were pretty blue skies, soft clouds, green grass, good food, lemonade, and great company.









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The only thing missing was Arissa, who was at Knott's Berry Farm. We'll make it up to her though with picnics-a-plenty during the summer, I'm sure.






It's a Miracle (with a big, fat, huge capital M)....

















In ONE week, this:













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became these:



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Now I know they don't look that labor intensive and when I have all the time in the world to do them, they're really not. They aren't difficult to do either. But when I wait till the last minute and have to finish 3 in one week, every single stitch seems to take FOREVER!!



Several times I just resigned myself to the fact that finishing them in time was not possible. I cursed myself with every stitch: why did I wait until I only had 1 week to finish them when I knew 3 months ago when I needed them done by, whyyyy. Well anyhoo, I spent every spare moment (few and sparse as they are) knitting, and I got 3/4 of the way done with TWO COMPLETE dolls when I decided I hated the colors and started from scratch. But since I had no Plan B, I just pressed on and I did finally finish these two. Their names are Avery & Quincey, cause those are the names of their soon-to-be recipients:


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According to the pattern, they're fairies. But I like to make them just sweet little girls wearing fancy party skirts:







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I use this same doll pattern a lot, for lots of things. For Drill Team dancers:







And Presidents: Photobucket






But I do think the fairies are my favorite. :) I think it has to do with the tulle skirts.







Much as I love them, I can't take credit for the crocheted flowers...I bought them off Etsy:









I've used them before on hats that I've knitted and I didn't plan on using them for these dolls but I when I reached into my sewing bag and pulled them out by accident, I thought they looked so pretty and were just the perfect colors:









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These girls are sisters, and best friends as well. They love to hold hands:





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The skirts are attached to their bodies and then I tied a ribbon around their waists, just for good measure. I love the details on this one:





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As someone who makes lots of stuff and also takes photos of the stuff I make, I've learned that if you take too long doing it, other people will inevitably want to join in on the photoshoot. Usually in my case it's a little girl that creeps in, but this time it was Missy.







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I don't think she was real thrilled about the dolls themselves (she stayed away from them and was totally uncomfortable when I introduced them to her)....but I think she did enjoy my background prop (which was a blanket I made):





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How cute is she.







As of now, the little party-skirt-wearing girls are packed up and ready to make the 800-mile journey to their new homes.











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Funny (and embarrassing) how strange it feels to pack them away. I've spent a LOT of time in the last week and a half working on them, stressing about them, hoping and praying they would be finished in time. But I do feel a little sad letting them go!





The girls (mostly Arissa) have been asking and asking and asking to go for another tandem ride. So last weekend we headed to Coronado. It was SUCH a beautiful, picture-perfect day.





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The first step was to get the proper gear on, of course:




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Then we headed out:




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I got to sit back and relax since Jesse was there to help pedal.








Mallory was sneaky and brought along a stow-away:




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The girls already want to do it again. I wonder if it would be a better investment to buy our own bike. Hm. But I doubt the experience would be the same, riding along through Lemon Grove as opposed to Coronado....

Variety Show 2011

Guess who is super brave,


very talented,


and performed again this year at the school variety show??!

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Yep, it was Mariah Grace. :)



Again, Jesse used his computer/music skills to edit their song so it was the exact right time and didn't have to be just manually faded out at the end. Thanks to him, the song had a beginning, middle, and end, and was exactly under the time limit. He even made a copy for each of the girls in the group so they could listen to it and practice to the right version.


I made a point to work on my control-issues and pretty much just left the whole thing alone.


Except the day before the show, Mariah told me all her friends really wanted me to make the scarves again like I did last year. And since all that's involved in making them is buying fabric and cutting it, I was happy to!





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Her sweet friends are just the cutest. They all come up to me and give me hugs, and they are so smiley and fun...I can see why Mariah is friends with them.







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They're the kind of kids that make me want to invite them all over for slumber parties every weekend!

(At Nana's house, of course. Sweet and cute or not, our house is just too small for all 'dem kids. But still...)



It was a pretty long show.....2 hours. And Mariah's group was of course, in my opinion, the highlight of the night!


Her and her friends were pretty thrilled when again this year I brought them each a mylar balloon as congratulations. $5 very well spent to see their sweet smiling surprised faces.





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They were so awesome and it was so very fun to watch.



Can't wait for next year.




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Nana Can Do ANYthing....


...even re-create the experience of a camp-out when there's a rain storm outside.


Well, she created the best part about camp-outs: s'mores.



Photobucket We all enjoyed the warmth of the fire, and the girls toasted marshmellows and sandwiched them between graham crackers and chocolate bars (which Nana just happened to have on hand---one of the many differences between her and me, and one of the many things I love about her. I never have anything "on hand". Most often, her house is my extended pantry).



Photobucket Photobucket Mmmmmm... Photobucket Arissa was multi-tasking....enjoying the warmth, savoring the yummy-ness, and figuring out the new cell phone that Grandpa got her: Photobucket The only bummer was having to go back out into the storm to go home!

"Student Du Mois"

Guess who was chosen Student of the Month for February??? ...that would be Mallory Mae!!:





Photobucket She thinks she's real slick and knows that the tell-tale sign of having been chosen Student of the Month is when I set out a dress for them to wear on the day of the assembly. So I threw her for a loop and set out dresses for both her and Mariah (Arissa wears her school t-shirt for School Spirit Fridays, since she's VP). It was a success----Mallory didn't think anything of it. Till she saw us in the audience. :) She was thrilled. She's patiently waited all year and now it was finally her turn. The assembly itself was a blur of excitement: Photobucket










Of course there were people lined up to congratulate her:








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Naturally Mallory was excited to see the small gift in our hands and she wasted no time opening it:








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Just some Silly Bandz and some "bling". (I think she liked the bling even more than the Silly Bandz):






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Her teacher's comments were that she is a fabulous student, a good friend, and a grrrrrreat reader. Which made a book-loving Mama so proud!!






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