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Stupid Sickie: Can't sleep. Can't breathe. I don't know how a body can make so much snot!

Smarty-Pants: An actual quote from a parent-teacher conference between Mom and my seventh-grade Pre-Algebra teacher:

Teacher: She is always waving her hand in the air.

Mom: Well, you're lucky. It's the other side of her in the air at home!

[Comments] (1) Nobody Likes Me: Growing up, we were only allowed to eat sugar cereal on Sundays (hence the term "Sunday cereal". Genius, n'est pas?). I remember one fine day when Rachel was pouting because Leonard or I had eaten the last of the Corn Pops. This day a new song was born.

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
I'm going to go eat worms 
(And Corn Pops)
Big ones, little ones
Fat ones, skinny ones
I'm going to go eat worms 
(And Corn Pops)

Sorry Rach!

The title of this entry unintentionally reminded me of Hannah's whininess during the Disneyland trip. "Nobody wants to be my friend!"

Sidekicks: I noticed today that I have a thing for sidekicks. I always knew I liked Woodstock, Snoopy's chirpy friend. I look forward to his little dancing scenes in the videos we have.

We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas a while ago and who do I love? Zero. He's so cute! I even went into the Nightmare Before Christmas store at Disneyland to see if they had a Zero ornament, but it was a mass of Jack everywhere. (John likes to point out that he liked that movie before it had a goth cult following.) Zero makes a few appearances in the Haunted Mansion. He gets a big pile of bones for Christmas!

Tonight we finished Treasure Planet. You guessed it - Morph. Everytime he parroted something or morphed I said, "aww!"

I can't help it; those little guys are too cute.

Feeling Better: It seems like a lot of people have had a very nasty flu in the past month. I lucked out with a wimpy cold. Good thing, too, because I am going to Jamie's to print shipping labels after work. Normally I work through lunch and leave early to do that, but I am covering for Noelle today, so I couldn't. It makes for a long day, but I don't mind. It's nice to have some extra to do, especially when I'm earning money.

[Comments] (1) Ode to Leonard: Well, it's about time my brother got an entry all to himself about how much I appreciate him.

Leonard shamelessly spoils his sisters. And his Mom. And his brother-in-law, for that matter. We got tons of great and thoughtful presents from him this Christmas, even though he said he was going to spend less on us, and he always makes the stockings so full and fun. He even has one more present for me that he forgot, and a juicer!

He offers advice on computers and other nerdy stuff, like buying a digital camera. He is so smart. I love to brag about him. And he is very, very funny. I am so proud of myself when I can make Leonard laugh!

Once when we were pretty little, we were swimming in our pool and Leonard did or said something that made me cry (or pretend to cry) and I was sitting on the pool steps and he came over and apologized and gave me a hug. When I was about 15, I was watching a movie when Leonard arrived for the weekend from UCLA. He came in and gave me a hug. I was shocked! That's when I realized my brother loved me.

There are two times in my life when I was rather afraid to be in the car with Leonard. Once was when he had to drive the truck when we were moving to Bakersfield. Even if you can drive a manual, the truck was terrible to drive. Leonard now admits he was as scared as me, and I'm sure I didn't help much. Then, when he graduated college and got a new car and I drove to San Francisco with him. He hadn't driven much in the last four years and you could tell! Now I'm sure he is a wonderful driver.

Over 6 years ago, the day before my 18th birthday, Leonard set me up with my very own weblog. Thanks to him, the internet has been graced by my presence since then.

So basically, my brother is great and I really appreciate him and hope everyone else who is spoiled by his presen[ce/ts] does too. I love you, Leonard!

Yesterday I was wearing a necklace Leonard bought me for Christmas last year - a little porcelain heart that says "Susie" - and I got a compliment! Also, someone complimented the magnet Sumana bought me that says "Be Nice or Leave. Thank You." I have it on the filing cabinet in my cubicle, because my cubicle is, apparently, held up by plastic.

[Comments] (4) Note to Self:

Utah Susie: Why is your rent twice as much as mine?
California Susie:  Because it's 85° outside! On January 6th! That's why!
Utah Susie: Oh. That's a good reason.
California Susie: And I make 70% more than you.

[Comments] (2) A Story from Mark: Mark was telling me this because his ice cream reminded him of me...

"A friend asked me just then what I was doing and I looked at the empty bowl in my hand in realization and told her, 'I'm eating ice cream for dinner, I LOVE BEING AN ADULT!!! (insert childish laughter)'"

Larger-than-Life Spoiler: John and I went to see King Kong on Saturday. I mentioned on Jamie's message board we were going and someone said, "Too sad. I hate to see KK taken away from his island and then die at the end." And I said, "What!!! He dies!! gah. Oh well, what did I think was going to happen?" After the movie, I told John what happened and he said the same thing: He didn't know King Kong died either. But we've all seen him on top of the Empire State Building; how else could it possibly end? And a film that came out in the 30s is hardly still covered under the No Spoilers rule.

Overall, I liked the movie. I'm glad, however, that I read reviews by Camilla and Newsweek, because there were some gross parts. A couple people actually walked out, but I just snuggled into John. I mean, it's not like you don't know people are going to die, or how many disposable characters are left in the scene. And I know how much gore I can handle.

I thought the pre-island part and some of the fight scenes were a bit long, but I was never bored. And of course, I enjoyed the romance. There was one well-developed character that disappeared at the end and I missed him. Naomi Watts really is a good actress.

[Comments] (2) Misc.: Some random things I've been meaning to mention.

Last week John and I watched The Wizard of Oz. We both cracked up laughing when the scarecrow said, "Of course, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?"

We bought a digital camera with Target gift cards we got for Christmas. (Thanks Mom, Uncle Garry... and Rachel.) I am a terrible photographer. I shall have to practice on our cruise! Only 134 more days.

I have had a terrible time the last two weeks being the Primary Chorister. So terrible, in fact, that I wouldn't do it this Sunday and played the piano instead. Mer. Next week I get to teach 5 year olds with John instead (although I'm sure I'll still be playing the piano).

Woot Dawg: We got a postcard from Rachel signed "woot dawg", and I still think it's hilarious, so I thought I'd tell the story.

All piled in the car on Christmas Day, John, Leonard and Sumana were in the backseat talking about nicknames. Very quietly I said to Rachel, “woot dawg.” We laughed for about 5 minutes before we could tell them what we were laughing at. I think we were mostly laughing because we were laughing, just the two of us, not because it was funny.

That story also reminds me of when John gave Hannah the nickname “H-bear”. She thought it was cute until James got upset over it. But once Nathan explained that John called her that because he loved her, she was pretty pleased. And once when John called her “Hannah”, she shouted, “he knows my name!”

Cute sister. Cute niece. Back to work.

[Comments] (2) : I cried at another OnStar commercial on the way to work. This is why I don't listen to the radio!

Yesterday started off badly, but luckily I already knew it was going to be a great day in the life of Susie. My alarm didn't go off and I got on the wrong freeway on my way to work! This isn't quite as stupid as it sounds, since I was coming from Jamie's, and I took the freeway I usually take to go home.

Good things: I started doing interviews at work. There was a very short line at the post office. My husband called me. I had a lot of work to do for Jamie. I was very inspired to make a scrapbook page and had a lot of fun doing it. I had an extremely yummy dinner - Baked Potato soup. I had a clean comforter and clean jersey sheets to sleep on.

I cleaned out my purse while I was standing around at the post office. I found 5 hairbands, 6 bobby pins, and the permanent marker I borrowed from Noelle and hadn't saw since. I did not find my bubblegum lipgloss, but I got a cotton candy one in my stocking, so I guess I'll live.

[Comments] (3) City Girl: cheese alert.

I am picking John up at the LA office today on the way to Bakersfield. I was just thinking about when we did the same thing before Grandma's funeral. I got off the freeway and drove down among all those tall buildings with people in suits bustling everywhere and felt like I'd come home. It was a bit like the moment I realized I wouldn't be happy working for a small company.

Of course, I have the same feeling when I'm driving on the 58 through hills covered in dead grass, or thinking about bike rides at our house in the vineyard. But there was just something about all those people going about their lives together in a jungle of steel and glass...

: I have to post this so I can throw the sticky note away. About three months ago, Andrea was discussing growth opportunities and accidentally coined a new term: "grass ceiling".

On Camelot: Rachel: Oh, the Disney version: The ultimate in historical truth.

Scrap Ahoy: I put a link to my scrapbook gallery on my main page. Now that we have a digital camera I can update it more often. I have been "collecting" paper and embellishments from Jamie's kit club long enough! Time to start using them.

[Comments] (4) Gifties: We spent a scant 18 hours in Bakersfield this weekend and I got more presents! Leonard gave me his entire collection of P.G. Wodehouse. I picked out two books to bring home and read, and left the rest on the shelves he vacated in my bedroom. Mom and Aunt Anne made me ducky pajamas. They are so cute, I don't want to get dressed in the morning! And I "discovered" the gift Rachel got me on the piano. It is a music book of The Corrs' Forgiven, Not Forgotten record. It was the only one she could find, which is too bad because there are better records, but what an awesome gift! I am excited to learn some of the songs to play with her.

I also got John to take time off from studying and take me to Disneyland for a few hours last night. The place was practically empty; it's going to be an awesome few months. We waited 45 minutes for Space Mountain and <10 minutes for everything else we went on.

Leonard was right: Making homemade pretzels is the perfect way to showcase sea salts. I got a tiny tube of sea salt in my stocking and I used it on a double batch pretzels last night. So yummy, so fancy.

Today was a cold day. I hate inside cold. Office buildings are cold all year round and my little typing fingers get so cold they can barely move sometimes! I warmed up our house by making scalloped potatoes and by drying some lemon slices in the oven.

I took a grocery bag full of lemons from Mom's tree and could hardly find enough to do with them! I juiced enough for 3+ pitchers of lemonade, made 5 into potpourri, gave 5 to Noelle and I still have 2. Mom's lemons make the yummiest lemonade, so I can't complain about having lots of juice in my freezer.

Florida and Wrinkles: Laure: Now... hold on, who was I married to?

Noelle: And that's why it's important to moisturize.

Laure: "Have you ever seen a dead elephant?" No. "That's because they all go to Elephant Valley to die."

Susie: That's not why I've never seen a dead elephant. I've never seen a dead elephant because I don't see elephants!

Busy yet Bored: Is it true that only boring people get bored? Because I seem bored an awful lot lately. Not that I can't self-entertain, but being bored, or at least non-busy, demotivates me. But I'm probably boring and I don't even know it.

My actual life is busy and fairly interesting. I'm mostly trying to keep busy and out of John's way while he studies for his last CPA exam on Monday. I've had plenty of scrapbooking kits to make (Tammy's kit this month is "Night at the Theatre" (preview pic) and I love it), laundry to do, movies to watch, dinners to cook, and tonight I am going to "Girl's Night" and tomorrow we have our monthly ward party.

Hmm: 60 cents in my purse. That is the exact amount for a package of Starbursts in the vending machine. Coincidence? I think not.

I'll be right back.

[Comments] (4) Sunday: John has been studying all day, so I got to spend the entire day scrapbooking! I finished four pages of the Chadwick Family Disneyland trip. They aren't that great considering how long I spent on them, but I had a fun day. And I am getting better at taking digital pictures.

John and I went for another walk on the beach pathway. We like to look at all the beach houses and pretend we have $3.5 million. We walked nearly the entire distance between Newport and Balboa piers and back. Our beach has so much character.

Also, our Primary lesson went much better this week. Our class was rearranged (there are two CTR 6 classes) so it was smaller, calmer and I was better prepared. It wasn't perfect but I am feeling much more confident after today. The children were also better behaved during Sharing Time.

Olive Oyl: At dinner in Bakersfield the other night, Rachel reminded me of how I used to tease her that she looked like Olive Oyl when she wore a certain skirt. At first I couldn't remember the skirt, but as she described it, the image slowly came into my head and I started laughing uncontrollably. She did look like Olive Oyl in that skirt! I even looked up some cartoon pictures on the internet. The skirt was grey and came to just the right place between ankle and calf that gave her the Olive look.

Supportive: The other day I had a - we'll call it a "thing" - at work. I didn't want to tell John about it because I was afraid he, being a man, would tell me what I should have done, or should not have said (which, of course, I already knew). Well, turns out I was way wrong because he totally defended me and found some humor in the situation and made me feel a lot better. Thanks, John!

John has been having a hard time at work since being pulled from his training. I am being a good wife and listening and telling him he's right (because he always is). People are stupid sometimes. High school is over! Move on!

[Comments] (2) OnStar Moment: Yesterday at the grocery store, I forgot to use my coupon, so I went back to the Customer Service Center. The girl was really nice and not only let me use it after the fact, but let me keep the extra dollar when she accidentally scanned it twice.

Ten minutes later, at the gas station, a guy came up to me and asked me for money for bus fare for he and his wife. "Right", I thought. I told him I didn't have any money and wondered if he would want the 10 cents in my purse. As I was getting in the car, I remembered the scripture that says if someone asks for money, it's the Lord's job to judge and your job to give. Suddenly I remembered the $2, so I grabbed it and ran over to give it to him. I mean, I wouldn't have had the $2 in the first place if it hadn't been for the nice girl at the store.

As I drove off, I saw him go over to his wife. She was standing there looking at a bus map.

In Romania there were a lot of people begging for money. You can't give to everyone. I mostly just gave to the street kids, and even then, I mostly bought/gave them food. (In general, they ate the food, whereas the money was given to their parents.) There was this one sweet old man we walked by every Sunday on the way to church. I always gave him a 10,000 lei (about 30 cents; a decent amount to receive from one person while begging). I was doing my alms on Sunday! Oh wait, maybe it's healing people you're not supposed to do on Sunday? Well, we did that, too.

Vegas, here I come: I am going to the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) trade show in Las Vegas this next week with Jamie. I am so excited! I've never been to anything like this and it sounds like a lot of fun. It will be a lot of work, not to mention workout, but fun. We are leaving Saturday morning and I'll be back Wednesday night (because I have to do work at Jamie's when I get back). Things are slow at work today. I am going to attempt to donate blood at a drive across the street this afternoon.

[Comments] (3) Anemic: No such luck on the blood-donating. I got a little poke and a rejection letter. Next time: steak dinner the night before.

Vegas, Baby!: We are having about as much fun as married women in their mid-30s (I can't have more fun than the rest of them), three Mormons and a Lutheran, can have in Vegas. Yes, that's right: we went to a scrapbooking convention.

Spent all day on our feet gathering catalogs. Tonight we must plan the April kit. Tomorrow I am free to do all the make-and-takes. There was a lot of really awesome stuff I can make for free. I've already collected quite a few free goodies. I'm very excited to spend all day doing that tomorrow!

Anyway, back to work! I miss my hubby.

[Comments] (3) : Whew, I had such a long weekend I don't even know where to begin. In fact, it was so long that it's Thursday and still feels like Monday. I went with Jamie and her friend Tina (from her ward). We met Elayne there, a girl Jamie met online and always stays with. We had two adjoining rooms at Treasure Island.

Vegas was awesome (not the city itself, but the things I did). I didn't like that I had to spend so much money eating out, even considering I just had snacks for two breakfasts and two lunches. But I had a fun time with Jamie and her friends. We walked down the strip to watch the different free shows, ate crepes at The Paris hotel. FYI, the Sirens of TI show is not kid or average-person friendly. It was very trashy and I don't recommend it. Sunday afternoon we went to a class and made a cute file folder mini-book.

The CHA show was great too. The first day we gathered catalogs and then stayed up all night matching papers. On day two I got to roam around and make some of the free stuff. I made several mini-books (mini-books are the "thing" right now, but I think they are stupid. John says, "do people just have piles of mini-books on their coffee tables?" I mean one or two is ok.... anyway) some cards and other misc items. I got free adhesives and inks and some papers and a massage. I had a lot of fun wandering around and making free stuff. The cutest thing I made was a composition book covered with strips of patterned paper. I love the papers I used and it also has some cute stickers on it.

We stayed up very late finishing the kits we were planning and went back to the show on Wednesday to drop off orders. I snuck in a few more card making sessions. I didn't get home until about 6 on Wednesday because I had to do a bit more work at Jamie's house.

It feels so good to be home! Well, right now I'm at work, but you know what I mean. I missed my husband. I am very tired, from the late nights and early mornings. Happy for a two-day work week. Tonight is shopping, laundry and I promised John a real dinner and a hot tub visit.

: One of my co-workers just returned from the Phillipines and brought Noelle and I beautiful glass bead bracelets. My bracelet is so colorful and pretty, I love it!

I am glad to be home with my post-CPA exam husband. We planned to go to Disneyland tomorrow after he works a few hours, and now he is threatening to take me tonight too! I am so spoiled.

: Went to Disneyland twice this weekend. Friday night we saw Fantasmic and went on Splash Mountain. Visit #19, on Saturday, started a bit late because John's windshield got attacked on the way to visit #18 and we had to wait for it to be replaced. Saturday we were being picky about how crowded it was and didn't do a lot. We ate at the Rainforest Cafe though, and watched the fireworks show and the projection on "it's a small world".

Primary lesson went better yesterday. We have to do Sharing Time this month though.

: I was doing some research online for training resources and I found this video: Meetings, Bloody Meetings. Made me laugh. I've had work to do today! I almost forgot what it feels like...

[Comments] (2) Fire: It took almost my entire drive home yesterday to realize the white stuff floating in my window was ashes. This morning all the cars had a nice little layer of white flakes. The article is right, though; sometimes there are strange winds blowing around (the place I work is near the mouth of this canyon). When I got out of my car at work today it felt like 80°. Yucky.

[Comments] (2) : I went to a little dinner party last night with the other girls in the ward who are married to accountants. It was a lot of fun. I am really enjoying our ward and all the friends I've made. Except that there was only one other non-pregnant person there, with her little boy. I brought Fudge Sheet Cake, except I forgot to bake it in a sheet pan. Yum.

Since John got home so late last night (9:30, poor guy), I was also able to finish a layout I've been planning for weeks in my head. I made this for John for Valentine's day and you can see it in my gallery once it is posted. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to put on it yet, but I have a secret plan to have some pictures taken of us tomorrow, and I am determined to get some digital photos printed next week.

[Comments] (5) Funny Things: Susie: Do you like the name Sophie? John: Sophie Neuveau! Susie: That means "new". John: It also means last name!

John: Since it's July, I think we can put the heater away.

John on eating shrimp scampi, a la Lady and the Tramp: I can push a shrimp over with my nose.

Primary.... Teacher: What city were [the sons of Helaman] in? Child: California!

Chorister: What's your favorite Primary song? Child, under her breath: God Bless America.

Y2K Quotes: Susie: There are plenty of men to go around. Mom: Not decent ones! Susie: Well, they're more decent after they're dead.

Kirin: Lucky for us that light was green. Susie: What light?

Susie: There was a stop sign there. Kirin: For me?!?

[Comments] (3) Shallots: I went to the store yesterday to buy milk (and spent $25). I'd never seen so many men in the grocery store before, by the way. Anyway, I got some shallots to use in John's shrimp scampi, having made up a recipe by looking at the ingredients in a frozen shrimp dinner. Leonard told me shallots were about the same per pound as onions, but he was wrong. Yellow onions: 3lb/$1. Shallots: $2.39/lb. Maybe you don't use as much? I got three for 37 cents.

So there I was, making shrimp scampi for my Valentine. I threw some butter, garlic and a minced shallot in a pan. Added a splash of lemon juice. Thawed the shrimp. I turned back to my pan and the shallots had turned blue!! It had to be the lemon juice. John ate it anyway.

From one non-fish-loving wife of a fish-lover to all the others: frozen cooked shrimp is not stinky at all, even when cooked more.

The Real Valentine's Day: John didn't get home until 9:20 last night. But when he did, his new plants were nicely repotted for him. And he had an entire hawaiian pizza in his arms. True love.

Furniture Love: Andrea dragged me to the furniture store at lunch today and I saw the most beautiful chair!! The tag said it was a "cuddle chair" (and also that it was $650), basically a circle chaise, and it swiveled. And it was so soft. I am looking for a link online, but I've only found an ugly one for 3 times the price.

Update: Oh well, here's the ugly one.

[Comments] (1) B-town pitters: The Real Disaster of my trip to Bakersfield was the drive up here. It took me over five hours!!! Why? Traffic. Traffic. Susie's car acting funny. More traffic. Really a lot of traffic. "Snow escort". By which point I am so used to going 5-20 mph I could hardly go 80. I never found out what a snow escort is. Unless it is "absolutely nothing, including snow."

There was a lovely meal of stirfry and banana splits waiting for me. And Mommy waited up for me. Rachel and I did some henna. Unfortunately she had just scrubbed her bathroom and put up a new shower curtain liner.

We stayed up much too late giggling. We rehung Rachel's curtains. She put hers on upside down, I put mine on backwards and they were both in the wrong place. After we re-rehung them, we realized it didn't matter because of the valance. This was, of course, hilarious. Rachel also told me a story about her lamp, but I told her I wouldn't share it with the world. Yet. Oh, and I told her about the time I stood on the kitchen chair to take a picture of a layout. thump, thump, thump. What is hitting my hair? The ceiling fan. Sheesh. I have become very ditzy in the past few months.

Today I pittered around the house. I cleaned henna out of the bathtub, algae out of the fishpond and clothes out of mom's closet. Then I juiced a giant bucket of lemons (8 pint baggies), and made 12 individual containers of zest. I made soup, drove all over town looking for a lightbulb, took Rachel her lunch, and heated up Mom's rice bags several times. I also wrapped a gift for Jennifer Nation's (Jorgensen) wedding reception tonight. Time to get pretty.

[Comments] (4) Tonks Says Hi: Gretel is really unhappy that I am in here on the computer and she is outside. I think she is trying to dig under the door.

Anyway, here's the update on the weekend. Yesterday I spent a few more hours cleaning out the fish pond and the pumps. Unfortunately, the pumps don't work, so the actual water is dirtier than ever. Poor fishies. I filled up the green waste bin with water plants and roots galore.

I am feeling pretty sore now, from kneeling on the cement, and also from falling off Rachel's chair yesterday. Actually, the worse part about that fall is that I was holding a plate of rice. I didn't drop it, but it bounced. Susie: What if I fall off the bed? Rachel: That would be really funny!

Since Mom hasn't gotten out of bed much this weekend, we have spent lots of time in her room. I dug out Mom's rice bags and have been heating them up for her. For all her hemhawing before when I suggested them, she is quite enjoying the spoiled treatment. Last night we nagged Mom and had a long talk with her. Rachel: Do you think I should - Mom: I can't do your thinking for you. Rachel: Oh, I was asking Susie.

Rachel and I also took a gigantic walk around the neighborhood and down to the park. With Gretel. We attached her leash to a pole and went on the swings. It was fun, except Gretel didn't quite get that the swing goes both ways. She got her nose bonked on the return ride a few times. Susie: Are these ears? How do you tell on a dog?

Rachel and I also did pedicures. My toes are all pink-sparkly now. Rachel gave me a nice hand massage. Susie: Are you stealing my diamonds? Rachel: I don't want what comes with it. Susie: A warranty?

[Comments] (4) This Annoys Me: "You have one unheard message. The following message has not been heard. First unheard message."

Ok already. I get it!

[Comments] (1) Buzzzz: It seems like everytime I sat down at my desk I had more voicemails today. I probably had 15! Today was the first of a yet-to-be-determined number of days on which I will be spending three hours assisting the medical department. Most people would balk at having their workload double, but I am excited. I billed my first project-related hours today! We also had free lunch and a lot of leftovers. I am bringing home sandwiches and some desserts. We also had a benefits fair. I had two cookies, a granola bar, a pear, a mini-Jamba and a chair massage.

[Comments] (5) Shopping Spree: Last night I went to the mall (ok, South Coast Plaza) to get a hairclip. I found no such hairclip, but I did find the Robinson's-May closing sale. Everything was 40-70% off, and most of it rang up even cheaper than I thought. I bought two nearly identical cream sweaters, a nice blue shirt for work, a new slip, a green corduroy jacket ($14!) and a shirt for John, all for $97. One of the sweaters had a scarf attached to it (It didn't "go" with it -apparently thought they'd have a hard time selling scarves in OC in February). Since the other one didn't, the girl gave me an additional discount on it. Unfortunately, I was too late to get John any slacks in his size, because that's what he really needs. And no hairclips.

Looking Forward to the Weekend: And by "weekend" I mean "seeing my husband."[0]

John has been working very long hours this week. He finished his project last night, only to have two more dumped on him. Last night I was half-asleep reading when he got home, and handed me two M&M cookies. So busy and still he thinks of me!

Tomorrow we have a temple appointment and hopefully we will make it to Disneyland. I have an exciting Primary lesson prepared. We are going to use yarn to measure how tall the kids are, and also make items from New Testament times out of salt dough.

[0] This is the first time I have used the phrase "and by 'X' I mean 'X defined in a specific, applicable and Lemony Snickett-ish manner'" in an entry, despite overusage in real life. It's such a handy sarcasm/deadpan vehicle.

What Nephews Are Good For: Chad hit me in the head with an inflatable baseball bat so I chased him down and tickled him into submission. I was fairly merciful; I didn't want him lying on the floor too long in his church clothes.

John Works Out:

Susie: Accounting burns as many calories as running. John: That's brain cells.

: Last night I went to Enrichment, the annual RS Celebration dinner. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious. I sat with all the other young girls who came and we laughed so hard, I think I burned all the calories in the trifle dessert just from laughing.

Other than that, I've been very very busy, even at work! We have a training coming up next week, and I've still been helping in the Medical dept. Plus another trip to Bakersfield this weekend, and I've had plenty of work to do for Jamie. Being busy definitely has its advantages, especially since John is working so late.

[Comments] (1) : Last night I got the February visiting teaching message and events page in the mail, with a little note: "The ward is wishing you were part of our family."

: We had a wonderful and productive day in Bakersfield. The house is still a mess, but we did lots of planning, balanced Mom's checkbook, filed taxes, etc. And took Rachel to Red Lobster for her birthday! Tomorrow maybe some tidying up will happen. I also cut Mom's fingernails.

Mom: I think you got some of my finger. Susie: That is a very polite way to say, "ow!"

: I went to a party with my friend Hasanthi last night. I got home very late because we had to take a tipsy someone home and she wouldn't tell us where she lived.

Now I am at work bright and early. I have a lot of urgent work to do, but we have company-wide training meetings all morning that want to take up my time. Luckily, we are supposed to have a temp for the front desk in three minutes, so I will train her quick (since everyone will be in the meetings anyway...) and squeeze and extra bit of work into my morning.

[Comments] (4) Good Morning: I am sick, so while I was up leaving voicemails at work, I got on to take care of some work things by email. Mostly I am forwarding stuff to Noelle.

It is a good day to be sick though, after such a LONG two weeks of craziness at work. Plus, I don't think John is feeling very well... What a coincidence!

[Comments] (8) : Yesterday I called Leonard while waiting at the post office. I love my brother. I told him I didn't have enough to do at work and he said to make sure I spent my extra time learning things and looking like I'm working. When you're writing a book you don't really have time when you're at work but not working and can learn things. He told me he was starting to edit his book and I said I was proud of him.

This month I did my visiting teaching for the first time since we moved here. They have given me a different assignment every month, with a different partner. This month they gave me one girl that I actually knew and no partner, so I went to see her a few days later. Her husband is an accountant (a common occurance in our ward). Maybe since I actually went they won't change my assignment any more.

Back to the humdrum of work. I've been slowly working on my one project, stretching the time it takes. Leonard agrees: us Richardsons have some innate ability that makes us 10x more efficient than your average human. Mer.

Karma: After all my effort of ironing my skirt, fixing my hair and dressing professionally today, my shoe broke as I got in the car. Luckily Andrea was able to fix it with a safety pin, but I think I will go shoe shopping at lunch, just in case.

Karma #2: Noelle has the flu. I suppose if we have nothing to do, I might as well do it for both of us.

Karma #3: In which Susie's luck turns around.

I bought a pair of shoes at Target during my lunch break. They are very cute, and like Mom's dinosaur socks, they have an adorable secret plaid lining. Hasanthi grabbed a pair of very cute, too big shoes when she went home for lunch, but they were too big for me too. So I am keeping the Target ones.

Also, I have been fairly busy today, with a few projects, a bit of actual pertinent work, and now a bit of busy work from the graphics department.

[Comments] (4) Lucky Guess: More Luck o' the Susie.

I won the "guess how many sour green ropes are in the little jar" prize at work. The good news is that I got to keep the candy (I have eaten at least 15 of the 65 (my guess!) pieces). The better news is that I also got two movie tickets! The candies are all different sizes, which I think is cheating, but since I won I won't complain.

[Comments] (2) All done:

But for my mother and father, oh no, it was [John] this and [John] that, they were so proud of having a [CPA] in the family.
HP:PS, pg. 53

John got another 96!

[Comments] (2) It all looks the same from down here: Probably my earliest memory is of running into the Wilshire Ward chapel, up to a group of High Priests and grabbing onto my dad's leg. Then I looked up, realized it wasn't my dad and ran out the side door.

When Mom was a little girl she ran up to a pant leg at church and grabbed on, only to look up and find her father and the rest of the men laughing at her for grabbing the wrong leg.

Last weekend we took Chad, Justin and Tyler to the arcade at Boomer's. Despite being 11, Justin has quite the propensity for getting lost (it's not usually the oldest child who gets lost at Disneyland...) so John and I made frequent Justin checks. Once I found him sitting and watching the horse betting. He was sidled up to a man, sitting next to him on the tiny bench. I stood behind him and watched for a while, trying to see what was so interesting about the horse betting. Justin was looking over at the man's notebook, then abruptly got up and walked right into me. "I thought that was Chad," he confided. Oh.

Dear Relatives: We believe our visit is tomorrow (Wed.) at 6:30 p.m. + we hope that is correct. If not you will see that we are not here. Where are we? We are out for DIN DIN + then to a movie. Expect to return tonite at about 9:30 p.m. Give us a call please so we can see you another evening.

Yours Respectfully c alzirness Soprdrcoue! Justin.

Apparently Rachel and I weren't the only ones who thought Leonard was coming on Wednesday. We found this note when we went to take Uncle Justin and Aunt Barbara to dinner. I still can't figure out what the last line says, but I am posting it as a part of our family history.

[Comments] (1) : Although we missed the company of Justin and Barbara, Leonard, Rachel, John and I had quite a bit of fun at dinner last night.

Rachel: Did I just make something up? Leonard: I think you accidentally said the most boring thing ever.

John: Always the guinea pig, never the guinea.

Susie: I'm sorry I ate your cookie; it was looking at me!

[Comments] (1) What Does It All Mean?: Ok, two weird dreams I must record. A few nights ago I had a dream that I went into someone's basement to get away from the kids and the chaos and there was Grandma trying to pack up and get ready to leave the nursing home. I was SO thrilled to see her, so I started helping her pack up. She had all these containers of leftovers and canned food in tupperwares and I thought "that's gross, these are going to spill everywhere and I'll have to clean them up."

Then last night I had a dream that we went on a trip to another planet and played a game (like laser tag, or the corn maze) where we were trying to avoid aliens that were invading. When we got out, in real life (in the dream) the planet was in some kind of war or hostage situation. John and I and several other family members were standing in a line being forced to write our names on the ground by dipping a pen in ink with our feet. Our feet and the ground and everything was covered in ink. The slave driver was yelling at me because John and I were white and the other family members were Mexican and he said "you're second cousins?" and I said, "yes, he's my mom's cousin." Then the rest of the family snuck away, so I tried to distract the guy by writing my name very well with the pen in my toes.

: Annoyed. Noelle went home sick. Spent all day doing nothing. 3:57 P.M. - something to do. Stayed late despite 10% total productivity.

Actually, I can't complain too much because I spent all afternoon reading one of the romance novels Rachel lent me. Hah, my fax has gone through, I am going home.

: So. Bored.

: Earlier this month we had a temp cover the front desk for a morning so Noelle and I could both attend a training. The girl did not know how to play Minesweeper. Seriously. She thought you just randomly clicked. "I keep losing," she said, "I'm not very good at this."

[Comments] (2) My Thesis on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride: Disneyland visit #24 was our third in a row in the rain. A lot of rain. We stayed fairly dry, other than the usual soaked pants up to the knees, until a mad dash from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to Peter Pan in a torrential downpour. Yes, that's like 20 feet. So wet! Since it wasn't cold we had an extra sweatshirt, so I changed and we were fine, other than the giant puddle we accidentally sloshed through on the way to the car. The lines generally stayed about as long as the covered parts, so we got to go on 7 rides in just a few hours.

I was trying to explain to Leonard that I didn't understand why Mr. Toad's Wild Ride contained a journey to hell. Leonard, who is a bit more knowledgeable about the actual story, stated he didn't think that actually happened, maybe jail just felt like hell. Nope, here's what happens: Reckless behavior and smashing of things; chased by copper; sentenced by the judge; sent to jail; escapes jail; causes giant explosion; goes to hell.

I know it's hell for the following reasons: The devil is there (he looks suspiciously like the judge); the room looks like a cave; there are red flames; there is a fire breathing dragon; there are giant rats with devil horns and pointy tails dancing from the ceiling and laughing at you/Mr. Toad; The room is at least 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the ride.

Perhaps I will read the book.

John made a comment the last time we went on the ride: "It's funny that hell has a direct portal to Disneyland." It was slightly less funny this time when we were shot out into buckets of rain.

New Record: My new record at Spider Solitaire is 15 lost games in a row, up from nine when Noelle had the flu in October. She has tonsilitis and will be back on Monday.

Insanity: I have changed the same flight itinerary THREE times today. Are we expecting different results? Yes. Right now I am moving it to next week so we can all BREATHE. We were going to wait until Monday to change it again, but since the flight is supposed to be on Sunday, I thought that might be a bad idea.

I am soooo excited for Noelle to come back. Especially now that I'm not doing training first thing Monday morning and I can dig around for my desk some more. I'm sure it's there somewhere...

: Poor Xochitl. John: I heard this hissing and I swear I thought there was a cobra in there!

Rachel will be relating the story of the 14 cent tip from girls who listen to Disney music.

John: This is a really weird calendar. St. Patrick's Day, Friday, March 17th? Susie and Rachel: ...

[Comments] (1) : We had a nice weekend in Bakersfield. John and I went to White Forest Nursery and to Smart & Final and then ripped out the winter garden and planted tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. There was a lot more we could have done in the yard if the green waste bin hadn't been full. It's easy to work in the yard now that Gretel is gone. Instead, I cleaned off Mom's desk and then organized the top drawer of her dresser. Also watched "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" with Rachel.

I slept terribly last night; I hate Daylight Savings. I kept waking up in the night, confused about what time I had to get up.

: When I was cleaning out Mom's drawer the other day I found a silver cuff bracelet and she made me take it because it was "classic." I don't like those things because they poke your wrist when you put them on and I think wrists are gross, but I polished it up and wore it with a cute outfit to work yesterday and I felt so cool! Now I am a stylish person who wears cuff bracelets.

Alright, I have thought of one (1) good thing about Spring Forward; the day seems to go by a bit faster. I think my body is used to how many hours of work are left when there is a certain amount of light in the sky. Plus out systems administrator was sick yesterday so the phone says "6:45" right now and it's nice to know it's wrong. John and I went for a walk to get chocolate-dipped cones after dinner in the daylight.

Andrea called me this morning, on her way to her first day at her new job. I don't miss her yet, but maybe once we replace either of the positions she was filling and I have less to do.

I have had a lot of dreams that I am going somewhere but I haven't packed properly. 50 days until our cruise!

[Comments] (1) 25th Versiary: Yesterday was our 25th visit to Disneyland. I did a rough calculation of cost per visit and we are now down to about the price of going to the movies (in SoCal). It was very crowded. We went on a few rides at California Adventure and then on Big Thunder Mountain. I love roller coasters!

I have been given an exciting new project at work: dividing the benefit bills and coding them for each department. I spent an hour with the controller learning how the spreadsheets and bills worked and what to do to balance them and how to fill out the AP form. I spent all day yesterday doing the two remaining bills for February and most of today doing three for March. Next week I will get the five for April.

I am enjoying learning more about Excel and having thinking work to occupy my time.

: It's nice to have a weekend without "things" to do sometimes. Last night we went to Irvine Spectrum and walked around. Today I went to a baby shower for Jen Jennings (the internet was down, so I found my way there using an actual map!). We went for a little hike on a trail in Newport Beach and then for a walk around IKEA where we bought some cheap nonessentials and some hotdogs and cinnamon buns. Then we went in the hot tub, watched Maverick, and decided on shore excusions for our Alaskan cruise. Tomorrow will also be a fun day. Jamie and David are on their way to Utah so we will do "nothing" all afternoon!

: I have had a lovely day at work. I've been busy but the other people I've been working with have been cooperative and supplied necessary information. It's amazing how helpful people can be sometimes. I managed to complete two travel itineraries today, organize two training schedules, create a huge pile of training records and also did some training.

Also, I finished The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at "lunch". It ended rather abruptly because there is a 94 page making-of special at the end. The book was quite funny, but I'm afraid if I hadn't already seen the movie I would have been lost. As it was, I had to remember what happened in the movie to keep from wondering why the plot had fallen apart. But funny nonetheless.

I am going to the Post Office to do shipping after work, but John and I have another library date to make. He has given up on The Last Mohican.

[Comments] (1) : Another busy day. I got most of the things done that I needed to, so I'm not overwhelmed, but it sure is nice to be busy.

Also, I got some inspiration for a scapbook page I want to make, so I'm even more excited to go home.

[Comments] (2) Marinade Mania: I've been meaning to post these recipes from Jamie for a while, so here we go.


7-UP Marinade
2 c. 7-UP
1/2 c. oil
1 c. soysauce
minced garlic
chopped onion
medium piece of minced gingeroot

Marinate chicken for 24 hours. Cook in oven or on grill. I used this on our George Foreman and it is delicious!


1 c. soycauce
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. fresh grated ginger
2 lb top sirloin, thin sliced

Stir to dissolve sugar. Marinate all day, stirring once. I used this on some really thin beef something I bought and grilled it on the George Foreman.


1 t. ground ginger
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. orange juice
1/4 c. honey
1 green onion, chopped

This one was originally for salmon, and I haven't made it yet, but John loved it and Jamie said it is also delicious on chicken.

: Yay, half a day off! Well, 2 1/2 hours. Noelle is going to come over and scrapbook.

[Comments] (1) : One of the movies John and I recently checked out from the library was At First Sight. It was ok, despite the superfluous bedroom scenes, but one part really struck me. After the main character has surgery, he opens his eyes and sees for the first time and says, "This can't be seeing! This can't be seeing!" How weird would it be to experience sight, or any sense for the first time like that, without any "visual vocabulary"? I imagine it would be pretty scary.

'Donut Stoppe': What will they think of next?

: For breakfast this morning I had Frosted Cherrios with fresh strawberries. It was very yummy. Also, I made ham fried rice with leftover Easter ham for dinner and I didn't have any green onions, so I used a shallot instead - also very yummy.

By the way, you can't put a shallot in a garlic press. Just get out the cutting board already.

[Comments] (6) Sentimental: Since I have been using the same laundry detergent for years, anything different is very noticeable to my olfactory sense. Right now I am using half a box that came from Grandma's when she died. It doesn't actually smell like her, but knowing it's hers and noticing it's different makes me think of her.

The day Grandma died, we were putting up Christmas decorations at Mom's house. I kept pretending everything was from Grandma so I could be sentimental about it. Grandma Jessie really made the Christmas blankets, but they remind me of Grandma Rosie - especially the frog one which I took to our apartment.

I didn't feel like writing about it after she died, but now I thought I'd post what I said at her funeral.

One of the things Grandma and I shared, besides our weird thumbs was telling random storeis. I loved to listen to her talk and talk. When she started slowing down, she topped talking as much, but the last time we were together we had a great time chatting.

We reminisced about one of the trips we took up north together, to a Benson reunion. I drove us home from Aunt Lou's late one night and she talked the entire way, telling storeis about growing up, raising her kids, random stories. We went the long way because we were both scared to drive by the prison. I don't think I said one word the whole way home. That's what I'll miss most about Grandma.

: John and I went out with a couple in our ward, Jennifer and Matt Faas, to CPK for dinner on Wednesday. It was a lot of fun. We stayed and talked for over two hours. We really like our ward and it's nice to have friends. I just got a compliment on the skirt I'm wearing. It's a skirt Rachel bought me at an Express sale while I was in Romania. Nice sissy!

It's been a good day; slow at times, but I enjoyed holding actual conversations with my supervisor. I am looking forward to working a half-day tomorrow and going to Bakersfield with John.

[Comments] (1) Owie: I cut my finger grating cheese at Mom's house. I can't complain too loudly though, because John and Rachel did the rest of the cooking. And John cleaned Mom's kitchen. Twice.

I have had some work to do today, but I locked myself out of my computer and had to spend 1 1/2 hours doing nothing until IT came back from lunch. I am looking forward to a yummy dinner and a nice evening walk with my husband.

[Comments] (2) Blast from the Past: This week I have read two teeny-bopper books from Rachel. One was Voices After Midnight, a book we both remembered reading when we were little. We were talking about it a few weekends ago and Mom told us more of what it was really about (enough to be able to find it online) and said that we'd read a preview copy from a friend of Dad's who did book reviews for the LA Times.

The other book was An Occasional Cow, which Dad read us ages ago (obviously). This book is about a girl from New York who gets sent to live with her cousins in Iowa when her summer camp burns down. They teach their pigs to curtsy for the town pig talent show and make the world's largest gum chain. I know this book has been part of our family culture in the past: "Yeah, I'll say!" Plus, Rachel is well-known in our house for making gum chains.

[Comments] (3) Truth Not Tolerance: I have a little book in my purse where I write down funny things, important things, everything. This bumper sticker I saw was written in there. What kind of people openly speak against tolerance? What's wrong with tolerance? We tolerate you, don't we?

[Comments] (1) Spring Break's Over: Disneyland was very empty last night. We went on lots of rides, walked right onto the Matterhorn twice in a row, and saw the Parade of Dreams.

I had three kumquats this morning.

[Comments] (5) Hey, People at Mom's House: What are you feeding the cats?

I stamped a piece of incoming mail from "J. Bean" today.

Mom-isms #1: Ugly Dog Contest:

That dog is so ugly, it can't possibly be going anywhere other than an Ugly Dog Contest.

Bright and Early: I've been awake since 3 AM so I finally got up and came into work. A guy across the hall from my cube comes in at 3 to do data downloads from South Africa, so I'm not alone (and he turned the alarm off for me).

The company is letting me take a three-week leave of absence to be with mom, make funeral and estate sale plans, recovery emotionally, etc. I couldn't sleep thinking about all the things I'd like to get done today, but I know I won't worry about it one bit once I'm gone. I am going to Bakersfield as soon as I can get off work today. John is coming up Friday morning.

: Today has been a very productive day. Rachel and I awoke early by Mom and Anne talking about Rachel. Don't worry, Anne is writing down all the conversations we have with Mom. I didn't get a lot of sleep because I stayed up late cleaning Rachel's room (but not as late as everyone else). The day began with a clean house.

Anne came home from Target with a packet of colored stickers, some Sharpies and some giant ziplocks. We began the sorting process. We went through Mom's cedar chest, the books, the crystal, vases and silverware and the paintings. The house is a mess, and I won't pretend it's an orderly mess, but everything has stickies on it now! This made Mom feel better because she is worried about people not getting things. There are heirloom items for all of the nieces, but boys are harder to "shop" for. The girls will be getting not only a piece of their Aunt Frances, but a piece of Grandma Lorna or Della. Mom was very helpful in identifying the origin of the items in her cedar chest. We made sure to write where everything came from, because no one else will ever figure it out. I am not sure yet what I'll be doing with full service silver, china and crystal...

Alyson and I also did some more work in the yard and Mom's cousin Steven Call drove up and spent several hours with us. Mom enjoyed seeing him again. Uncle Garry also came by and stayed for a while.

We have an appointment tomorrow with the mortuary in Bakersfield. The booklet the hospice nurse gave us places her breathing patterns (occasionally stopped for 10-15 seconds at a time) under "one to two days to hours prior to death". I think I noticed this earlier, but Hillary pointed it out today.

: My mommy died last week, on Friday, May 5, 2006. I am very sad, and have a lot to say. Unfortunately, I am also very busy, packing up things, planning a funeral and a trip to Utah, and getting ready to sell the house.

[Comments] (3) Obituary: Here is Mom's obituary. The death date is wrong, and this is entirely my fault.

Viewing will be held Wednesday, May 10th, 11:00 a.m. with services at 1:00 p.m., at the L.D.S. Church, 316 A Street, in Bakersfield. Frances Whitney was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 22, 1952, to Lorna Call and Lewis Earl Whitney. Their first child, she was followed quickly by Leonard, Jonathan, Anne, and Robert. The young family lived in Arizona; Utah; Colorado; and New Mexico; before settling in Sunnyvale, California. Frances graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Comparative Literature. While working in Los Angeles after graduation, she met Roy Richardson. Roy and Frances married in the Los Angeles LDS Temple on August 11, 1978. Their first child, Leonard Dalton, was born in 1979. Daughters Susanna and Rachel followed in 1981 and 1983. While in Los Angeles, the Richardsons made contributions to community and church. In 1987, they moved to Arvin, CA near the Richardson family ranch. Roy became ill and died in May 1992. Frances returned to school and earned a Master's degree in English in 1997. She taught at Chipman JHS, East BHS, and BC, while supporting her children in their many activities. Frances was determined to live to see her children achieve success. She spent her last years in joyful service, despite an ailing body. Her spirit and determination, in the face of difficulties is a legacy cherished by all. Frances was preceded in death by her husband, Roy; her parents, Earl and Lorna; and her father- and mother-in-law, Dalton and Rosalie. She is survived by her son, Leonard and his wife, Sumana; her daughter Susanna and Susanna's husband, John; her daughter Rachel; her brothers Leonard, Jonathan and Robert; her sister, Anne; her sister-in-law Pat; her brothers-in-law Garry and Don; and many nieces and nephews. Frances Whitney April 22, 1952 - May 6, 2006

:
Susie: Is it real jewelry?
Leonard: I don't know. It might just be baubles.
Susie: Well, is it metal?
Leonard: It's shiny... [imitating Susie] "These are paperclips!"

dear aunt susie:
please don't be sad. love: James
happy may day!

John, Leonard, Rachel and I are at the Chadwicks' for the weekend. We had a wonderful day doing mostly nothing, and got a lot of sleep. We met Dave, Alyson, Atticus and Samuel at The Soup Kitchen for lunch, picked Sumana up at the airport and had dinner with most of the Chadwicks. Tomorrow is mom's burial in Provo, and we are also having a small service in Orem.

Mom-isms #2: Skinny Monday Paper:
What's left after the purge of news, coupons and funnies on Sunday.

We saved Mom the embarrasment of having her obituary printed in the Skinny Monday Paper by conveniently forgetting.

I'll Always Remember: In the early hours of May 5, 2006, Mom wakes Anne up. "This is harder than I thought," she says. "I need help." Anne calls Bishop Davis and wakes us all up. Mom is wheeled out into the living room and we all gathered around on the couches. Before long, the Bishop asks Mom what her favorite songs are, and we begin singing hymns to her. Mom sits quietly in her wheelchair, raising her head after each song to tell us how beautiful it was.

During a bit of a lull, I move from the piano to the couch with Leonard. After a couple minutes, I notice Leonard has his hymn book open to Master the Tempest is Raging. "Did you want to sing that?," I ask. "Do you think that would be ok?" he answers, with a little-boy look on his face. It is about 2:30 am; I go back to the piano.

After playing the last few bars as an introduction, I move back to the beginning of the song and begin. I stumble a bit over the first few measures, then, as I'm beginning to think I should just start over, Mom lifts her head and says loudly, "What in the world!"

[Comments] (2) Cleaning House:
Rachel: But it has a matching hat!
Susie: That is a terrible reason to keep something.

: "Oooh, I really want to kill it... What an opportunity!"
Brother Nielsen on the black widow in our garage.

[Comments] (2) : We have been very busy cleaning out the house, packing things and giving things away. Today I started the cleaning process and got through Mom's bedroom and bathroom and the windows in the study. Tomorrow we'll do the kitchen. I've had two accidents (not too bad, for those who know my clumsiness), one with a chair and one with a plastic tape dispenser. My feet are very sore, but Leonard is probably more sore.

Garry sent two of his guys to help clean up the yard and trim the bushes so the house can be seen. They are doing an awesome job, and also helping to get rid of the lemon juice in the freezer (we are on our sixth pitcher of lemonade).

Brother and Sister Stewart came by for the wheat and left with an entire pick-up load of food. We gave them all of the canned things not marked by Rachel or myself, everything in the garage etc. and made them promise to come back for the turkeys in the freezer. It's nice to have it gone and know it will be used. The Langley's bought our loveseat.

Even though there will still be a lot for poor Rachel to do, I am very excited to get home and see my husband. Our cruise is in 5 days!

Leonard's friend Peter came by yesterday and scanned things from our "scan 'n' toss" pile the entire time he was here. He also, very helpfully, took a load of my stuff down to Costa Mesa - all of the furniture we are keeping and a few boxes.

Set up for the quote: We have been using up paper plates, plasticware and cups and were eating a yummy dinner made by Aunt Pat.
Peter: Well, I'll get back to scanning.
Leonard: We'll take care of your dishes.

[Comments] (3) What's Wrong With Being Dead?: Leonard, Rachel and I were discussing whether one should say "dead" or "passed away" today. We have decided that our family is weird and that's ok.

Later...
Rachel: Too bad we're not eligible for Social Security.
Susie: I wonder how much you get if both of your parents are ... "passed away."
Leonard: Not as much as you would if they were dead.

What?: Rachel: Will you get me some lotion so I can enjoy my dinner?

I've been disoriented for two weeks now, but Leonard and Rachel are starting to catch up. Leonard is starting to catch up to me on accidents, too. He put some frozen manicotti in the oven with the plastic lid on.

Tomorrow I get to go home! The car is packed, although I couldn't fit all of my stuff. We are all exhausted.

: We have had a busy but relaxing few days since I got home on Sunday morning. Last evening we went to Disneyland and today to California Adventure (making up for lost time). We also unpacked and put away all of our new things from Mom's house and packed for our cruise. We visited with Uncle Justin and Aunt Barbara yesterday. I learned that Della collected owls.

Tomorrow we leave for Alaska - I can hardly wait! It is going to be such an adventure and so relaxing after the business of the past few weeks. I am certainly not looking forward to the piles of work awaiting my return, but I am going to do my best to ignore it for another week.

[Comments] (2) Alaska: Ready or not, here I come!

[Comments] (2) Funnies: John: What is this song? "I want to live like cannibals"?? (animals)

Rachel: My virgin ears!

Man on bus, to young son: There is No Such Thing as "fake football."

[Comments] (2) Alaska Travelogue: We're back from Alaska! I took notes.

Wednesday, May 24: We flew to Anchorage and took a bus down to the port in Whittier. We saw some white mountain sheep on cliffs high above the road, and three moose. Also, the bus drove through a 2 1/2 mile train tunnel to get to Whittier. I thought it was cool. Being a bus full of people, we got to go to the front of the line (one-way tunnel).

Thursday, May 25: A sea day. We cruised up College Fjord and got up early to see the Smith and Harvard glaciers. The captain turned the boat all the way around so people could view them from their balconies. We didn't have a balcony, so we went out on deck. My first glacier! There was ice floating everywhere in the water. The cruise ships, by the way, employ local pilots in each area to help with navigation.

Friday, May 26: Sitka. We decided to go on a boat tour to see sea otters. We saw two large rafts of them, a bald eagle, and also a pile of sea lions hauled out on a rock. I got sick on the boat.

Saturday, May 27: Juneau. This was the best day. For our first tour, we took a helicopter up to Mendenhall glacier and the Juneau ice field. Flying in a helicopter is a lot like riding Soarin' Over California, only somewhat louder. It's not bumpy like a plane, you just float up and float down. We got awesome views of the glaciers, with "Windex" ice, and the pilot took us between two mountain peaks. We went dog sledding on the ice field at the camp there. The huskies were so cute and friendly. They live to pull the sled for you! I "drove" first, and that was a bit scary, but I didn't fall off. We also got to hold some new little puppies - so cute!

Since we were in Juneau for 16 hours, we also bought a ticket to the Mt. Roberts Tramway. We took it up twice, went on some muddy hikes around the area, and we saw a marmot! It looked like a giant guinea pig with a bushy tail.

Sunday, May 28: Skagway. We had another awesome tour in this town. we took a fast boat out to Glacier Point, where we took a bus ride and a hike down to the river running off the Davidson Glacier. Here we canoed up to the lake and around in the face of the glacier, also getting some close looks at the icebergs. It is really hard to get a perspective on a glacier, without a person on it, or something to compare it too. It didn't rain at all on our cruise (amazing!) but this day was very cold. They gave us muck boots and raingear - I was wearing three shirts and four jackets! It was really amazing to see the glacier up close like that.

Some cool glacier facts: It takes 100 feet of snow to make glacial ice. Most glaciers are receeding. When they recede they leave morraines, or piles of dirt, which general have ice under them for years after. (you can see a cool cross section of one in our pictures) Long Island is an example of a glacial morraine. Seriously!

Sunday was also the Midnight Buffet. We didn't go last time because John was sick, but we got up (after a four hour nap) and went. It was cool to see, I guess.

Monday, May 29: Ketchikan. We slept in. We didn't have any tours, so we wandered around town, and found a walking tour brochure. We did most of both of the tours and got a nice perspective on the city. We walked along a road on a cliff overlooking the sea and got to see several bald eagles perched on the tops of trees growing down the cliff. We were so close to them! Bought huckleberry gummy bears.

Well, that sums it up. We had such an awesome time with the "old" people. The animals were so beautiful and fun, and I especially loved spending time with my husband, all to myself! I'll link to the pictures once they finish uploading.

[Comments] (1) Family History: Uncle Justin: John, Rachel, and I, and Rachel's friend Becca, went to dinner with Uncle Justin and Aunt Barbara on Friday night. They took us to the Back Bay Cafe, which is more like a country club than a cafe. The food was delicious and we had a great time. Uncle Justin opened the floor up to questions about anything from 1928 on. Here's the scoop.

When Lorna was born, Justin was upset that his Mom was gone in the hospital for so long and he set fire to the chicken house.

He lived in a "rough neighborhood" growing up and was in a "gang" with King and Buster Green when he was 12 years old. They would pretend to hold a rope across the road when cars came by, and were caught doing that by a probation officer. Actually, he caught Buster who told on King who told on Justin. When the officer showed up at the front door, Della had no idea Justin had been out of the house - he was supposed to be in bed. They spent the night in the State St. Hospital (the Juvenile Infirmary). They were fed breakfast in the morning and Justin didn't like the eggs so he threw them out the window and they landed on someone's head.

Bonus quotes:

Justin: See, I predicted my wife would get excited about the permit -
Barbara: I don't give a rat's ass about your permit!

Barbara, re the giant dog standing across her legs: This is how wolfhounds do "lap dog."

: Saturday was the E&Y Disneyland day. Rachel and her friend Becca came down to go with us. We had tons of fun, of course, and between the four of us had 15 ice creams. We were there 14 hours, saw both Fantasmic! shows, and went on Space Mountain three times. It was pretty hot, but we all wore hats and sunscreen and we got a free sprayer/fan from John's work.

Today was another quote-filled day in Primary.

Elizabeth: I don't know what my testimony is.
Susie: It's just if you believe in Jesus.
Elizabeth: I do believe in Jesus. But my brother is nine and he doesn't believe in Jesus. Wait, I mean he doesn't believe in Santa.

4 year old visitor: I'm being shy.

Elizabeth: What is pregnant?
Susie: It's when a baby starts growing in your tummy.
Elizabeth: And then you get fat.
Susie: Yes, like Sister Faas.
Elizabeth: I wish you were my mom.

Kc: My friend is a little bit fatter, like my brother, and this dress doesn't fit her anymore.

Elizabeth: I like being in this class.

[Comments] (4) I am grumpy because: It's hot. All kinds of people are asking me to do work like I'm assistant to them. My office is messy. I have to go pick up lunch for other people. I have a lot of work to do. There are piles everywhere.

Chillin' in My Cube: I am tired of looking grumpy, so I thought I'd better post something else... Here's a quote.

New, high-level employee, visiting from home office: I'm suprised you don't have an office.

haha!

[Comments] (2) "Sure, Lisa; some magical animal":
Noelle: Do you want a rib?
Susie: No.
Noelle: Oh. You don't eat pork.
Susie: What?

Also, a few weeks ago, when I didn't understand a comparison Hasanthi made regarding Good Friday, she said, "What, are your Mormon or something?"

[Comments] (1) : I found some notes scribbled on a magazine page from when I attended the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in January.

"Who needs snowflakes when you have seashells!"

"You gals look like you've seen one too many ideas."

[Comments] (2) : I got a haircut! Our neighbor's baby, who is about six months old, has cute, long, sticky-up hair. His dad said he gets his hair cut every week. He's a cute baby.

: In the office of the ranch, where Grandma worked, there was a cupboard under the orange counter that held toys, just for us kids. Grandpa also had a giant jar of lollypops. But even cooler was Millie's white-out collection. She had every color and shade of white-out ever made, all lined up in rows. Very cool.

I've technically been using "Wite-Out". Do they think it makes them seem more credible because their brand name is misspelled? This theory is along the same lines of the used car establishment with the giant flag.

: I am having trouble subtracting 5 from 16.

[Comments] (1) : Last night we had a very fun and funny visit (#33) to Disneyland. We went on just a few rides and then sat in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, ate a pineapple whip and watched the fireworks show. Here's what made us laugh:

Old lady to her daughter: I watch Sex in the City every night...

Old Japanese man wearing a hat that said "Princess"

In the middle of the fireworks show, a duck took off out of the moat, just in time to be scared by the loud fireworks and poop on the crowd. Luckily most of it landed in an open spot behind us, John just got a little splash.

[Comments] (4) : Yesterday was my visit to the dentist and, as usual, I have perfect teeth. I can't say "as always" because I, too, have some of those mercury fillings. John owes my ice cream now, but we've been having root beer floats at home instead (much cheaper).

A very busy week. Tonight the missionaries are coming over for dinner, tomorrow and Monday are Disneyland days, and Saturday I am throwing a baby shower for Jennifer Faas, and then we're going to the beach with Jamie and the boys. I'm so excited! John and I go walk on the beach all the time, but it's not the same as hanging out there and playing.

[Comments] (5) : I am so hungry! No matter how many snacks I bring, I always eat them all. Oooh, I just found the rest of me e300g Cadbury bar. Yum.

BBQ Potato, Bacon and Corn Salad:

1/3 c. BBQ sauce 
1/3 c. ranch dressing 
2 T. dijon mustard 
salt 
pepper 

3 lb. cooked, cubed potatoes 
1 can whole corn 
1 small red onion, diced 
1 red pepper, diced 
8 pieces bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Mix remaining ingredients except bacon in a large bowl. Pour dressing in and mix lightly. Sprinkle with bacon pieces.

BLT Pasta:

12 pieces bacon 
9 oz package of spinach 
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 
1 lb medium pasta (I used bow tie)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Put in large bowl Cook bacon, reserving grease. Crumble and add to pasta. Pour 1 T. bacon grease into pan. Add spinach and stir until wilted, 30-60 seconds. Add to pasta. Add 1 t. more grease to pan. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes to pasta and stir. If pasta seems dry, add up to 1 1/2 T more grease. Salt and pepper if desired.

Cheese Truffles: I looked at Mom's recipe and a few from Kraft Food & Family and made this one:

1 8 oz. package cream cheese
2 c. grated colby jack
1 T. dijon mustard
2 chopped green onions, greens and whites separated
1 T. green chilis
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Mix cream cheese, colby jack and mustard in mixer until smooth. Divide in half. Add green onion whites to one half and green chilis to the other. Refrigerate several hours. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and roll half in green onion tops and half in walnuts. Makes about 16.

[Comments] (1) Vacation?: We arrived in Utah late last night for an actual vacation. Today we are planning to "borrow" Logan and Ember, visit Grandma June, have a family party, and play games with our friends from BYU, Tyler and Tasha. Tomorrow everyone is heading up to the Condo in Park City, and we're staying at the Cabin in American Fork Canyon on Sunday night. We leave early Tuesday morning.

I am enjoying just hanging around talking with my mother-in-law (I'm a lucky girl to enjoy such a thing). It's nice to have family around.

Yesterday my boss said her boss heard that I was moving back to Utah. HAH! I told her whoever said that didn't know me at all. I think he must have overheard me and Noelle talking about our trip. Lesson: If you're going to overhear, at least listen!

Family History: Grandma June, Part 2: We spent an hour or so with Grandma June yesterday. She has been having some stomach problems and says she isn't doing well. I asked about her siblings. She has two younger siblings, Richard and Dorothy. Dorothy lost 3 husbands to heart attacks.

Richard worked for Ford Motors his entire career. When they signed up for an overseas stint, the company paid for everything they sent over - his wife sent cases of Cream of XXX so she could make casseroles. They spent three years in Holland.

Bonus Quote: Grandma June (to me): You sure have a cute sister.

Don't I, though?

: Back at work from a busy vacation. I picked up a cold along the way, so I am feeling fuzzy today. We had a great time in Utah. John's siblings made a nice effort to spend time with us while we were there, so we got to see our nieces and nephews lots.

On Monday morning, John and I hiked to Timpanogos Cave and took a tour. I'd never been and it was fun to see all the living rock there. We arrive home very early on Tuesday morning, slept a lot, and then went to do some shopping at Disneyland for a few hours. We went to bed early, out of tiredness and, in my case, sickness.

Our Disneyland Annual Passes expire in just 11 short days! Yesterday was visit #36 and we've got 2 more planned.

Warnings: Hot Water! Keep out of the reach of the children.

Note from Above: In college, my mom was famous for only calling when someone died, and for sending me packages with a post-it for a note (and for an awesome 21st birthday!). She once sent me a package of shaped pasta that was taped shut. Her note was written on the tape: "This was open until Misty sat on it."

There are several packets of tissues in my car from Mom's funeral. Due to my terrible cold, I've been using them and I noticed that one was written on, with permanent marker in Mom's handwriting. The only part I can read says "Donna ACD", so it's apparently a note about one of her classes.

[Comments] (1) We Have a Cat: Jellybean moved in with us on Sunday. She has been very annoying. She's always been annoying, trying to wake you up at night so you can pet her. Except now, when we kick her out, there isn't really anywhere for her to go, so she just stands by the door and meows. This morning she actually left us alone until 3:45, so that was nice.

I bought her a leash yesterday, so we could try to take her outside. She didn't really approve. We'll keep trying. She hasn't minded being let out onto the balcony. And she is good company and uses her litter box.

I had no idea I was so boring:
Keila: You're wearing a skirt! A cute skirt!
Susie: I wear skirts all the time.
Keila: But you're not ultra-conservative today.

[Comments] (1) : My baby sister is on her way to Serbia. (What is with those Richardson girls and third world countries?)

: How funny that I just wrote about Mom's strange note-writing, and Misty... yesterday I got a package from Rachel that said (written on the outside), "The holes in the package are from Tonks' sharp teeth." Thanks for the package, Cissy!

John is picking me up from work today so we can make one last trip to Disneyland (38). I actually got invited to go with a few ladies at work who have passes, but mine will be expired. Nice of them to invite me, though!

[Comments] (1) Hot: It has definitely been much hotter this summer, but people tell us it's abnormal. We slept on our couch bed last night, with the A/C. Jellybean seemed to like that ok.

Rachel says for me to post and say that she is safe, but she was able to post herself since she emailed me.

[Comments] (2) Happy Anniversary to Me: Today is one year since I started my job. I am actually having a very frustrating and stressful day at work (resonating from last night, when I was dealing with travel issues until 7:30pm). But they gave me a $10 Starbucks card!

Also... we have a new HR assistant starting on Monday. I am moving to the Finance department to do Payroll!

[Comments] (1) Someone Stole My Antenna Ball: ... And my antenna.

I noticed as I was driving back from taking John some dinner at work. By the time I got home it had occured to me that perhaps Mickey and his little wizard's hat were too heavy for my 9 year old antenna and it just broke off. I felt a little better thinking of my antenna lying along the side of the freeway, with its Mickey ears attached. The image, however, is far from (Mickey antenna ball: $5. Getting my antenna fixed: $150. Image of Mickey and antenna bouncing along the highway:) priceless.

This also explains why my AM radio doesn't work.

: Today we are having an employee appreciation "luau" lunch. The food was delicious and it's always fun to sit and chat with everyone. I am at the front desk now, giving Keila a chance to get some food and good company.

PS: We get to leave early!

The Twilight Zone: Work is so weird today. Efrain is off today, so it was dark when I got in. The A/C is out, so our servers shut down (which of course I didn't know when my computer started doing wacky things). And the phones are reset, so they ring at top volume. I'm ready to go home.

[Comments] (2) Even Worse: Neither of our new hires came today. One missed her flight; the other (my replacement) accepted another offer. Bummer!

The good news is I am going to the ward Pioneer Walk/BBQ at the beach with Diana Park and Payton, since John is working. It'll be fun!

[Comments] (2) : Have been very busy with work and doing stuff for Jamie. John got home last night from training in LA. It was our three year anniversary on Monday.

Last night when we got home from taking a walk, Jellybean had created a hairball on the carpet. At least we thought she just had a hairball, but then she threw up two more times (before I stuck her on the balcony). We decided it was the milk we gave her. I thought cats liked milk? Maybe she drank too much. Poor kitty. I must say John took it well, but I guess it isn't his carpet.

: Just because you're more important doesn't mean you can be unprepared and take my stuff.

[Comments] (2) : John and I both just finished reading Eragon. It was a little slow at the beginning and hard to get into, but ultimately interesting. I get addicted to books a lot of the time. I read this one in two days, which caused me to ignore John a little bit. Poor John! I made him a yummy dinner last night to make up for it. He came home and said he wasn't hungry, but then ate two tacos, so it must have been good.

[Comments] (1) Overhead in the Office:
Person 1: Don't bring your jacket; it's hot.
Person 2: I'm going to wear it anyway. I'm French; I always wear my jacket.

: Like three of the other days this week, today has been "one of those days". We were in crisis mode at 8:01 am. I am so glad it's Friday.

I took Noelle to Coldstone during lunch. We shared a Cheesecake Fantasy. I haven't had such yummy ice cream in a long time.

: Our maintenance guy has been on vacation for a week, so I've been doing fun things like getting coffee creamer out of storage and delivering FedEx. Today I made a guy go upstairs with me, in the creepy freight elevator, to get some copy paper (we just have storage upstairs). There doesn't seem to be a lot of male non-management employees around, so we've been making them take turns doing the heavy stuff. It's lonely in the morning with the lights off and no coffee made. Only two more days of being the mailgirl.

[Comments] (1) : My poor, hardworking husband is in the San Diego office today, for the first time ever (including his internship). This is the third week in a row he's had to leave me and Jellybean to fend for ourselves. Of course, he's done at 2, so he'll be home when I am, so we'll get to spend lots of time together this evening!.

We are really enjoying our Netflix subscription. Most of the movies we've watched so far I hadn't seen before. I feel like I'm catching up on vocabulary or something. I am determined, also, to finally see the last episode of Friends.

: Last night I dreamt that we were in the Natural History Museum at night and everything came alive, kind of like that new movie with, I think, Ben Stiller. Only not as funny.

Last week I had a dream about finding and picking up change. This was after the Question of the Day on Jamie's website was about picking up pennies. Sounds like a promising dream.

[Comments] (1) : I forgot to mention that my sweet husband made me breakfast on Sunday morning. Nothing nicer!

Simple Pleasures: Three little things that make me very happy:

New adorable photos on my desktop... I just put up a cute one I took of John and Tyler in a yellow teacup.

New windshield wiper blades. Or a car wash. But I think I get new wipers more often.

Whole wheat tortillas.

[Comments] (2) It's 3:00!: Almost time to go home.

I went to Noelle's this weekend. They just moved out of her in-law's and into a nice apartment of their own. So glad to be on their own. Anyway, her husband made her get rid of a giant box of clothes that didn't fit her anymore and I got them! I took home a huge pile of clothes, most of them nice work clothes. About 5 fun skirts and 6 or 7 pairs of slacks, as well as a bunch of long-sleeved shirts. I really didn't have that many options for work clothes before, especially skirts and pants, so I'm really happy.

I've never experienced weight fluxuations (I swear I've been the same height and weight since jr. high), so I don't know what it's like to have boxes of clothes that don't fit. It must be hard to give them away, especially since they are so cute. At least they came to a loving home. I haven't had new clothes since Christmas!

:

Susie: 98% of all drivers are women, old, Mexican or on their cell phone.
John: Wow, I'm finally a minority.

Tonight we are babysitting three little boys from the ward while their parents attend the temple. We're excited, but going to be up late.

Death by Office Supplies: My stapler attacked me today. I mean, actually attacked me. No, I didn't staple myself. It was spitting staples at me! The third time I think I would have lost my eyesight if I didn't have built-in eye-protection. After picking two entire rows of staples up off the floor, I finally got it to staple, but not very well. So I took it to Efrain, who gave me a shiny new stapler. I told him it tried to kill me. Maybe he didn't believe me, but as I was walking out of the room I heard him cry, "aah!" At least I know it wasn't personal.

I also got some new binders today. They open easily when you push the little button, but they also close easily (while you're putting papers in). Dangerous!

I had Chinese food for lunch (I had a coupon!) So delicious. My fortune says, "you will discover an unexpected treasure."

[Comments] (1) Fun Stuff: Our ward party this month is an ice cream social. We also have dinner plans on Sunday and I think I'm going to make an eclair cake. That sounds yummy.

Happy Weekend!

More Fun Stuff: On Friday, we ended up taking advantage of an invitation I received at work for free fun at Boomer's (since I am the "special events planner"). We got dinner, $5 of tokens each, and played a round of mini-golf. All of the activities were free, but we got there late and it was pretty crowded. We still have most of our tokens, so we're going to go at a less crowded time and play some air hockey.

: I made three phone calls today that were answered by a recording in French. Really throws a girl off.

[Comments] (1) Pear Walnut Muffins:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1 egg 
1/2 cup cooking oil 
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 pear, cored and finely chopped 
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts 
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions
1. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, the 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In a bowl beat egg; stir in oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add all at once to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in pear.

2. Lightly grease twelve muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; fill two-thirds full. For topping, combine walnuts and the 2 tablespoons brown sugar; sprinkle onto batter in cups. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

A friend at work gave me one of the muffins. I really like it so I tried making them at home, and they were a hit!

: Yesterday when I got home from work Jellybean wasn't there to greet me, which was a bit weird coming from such an attention-starved cat. I started cleaning up in the kitchen, and then heard a very loud meowing. It sounded like it was coming from very near, but I didn't see her, so I started opening the cupboards. Then I realized she was standing at the front door - outside!

I called John to see if he had let her out - nope. She must have jumped from our balcony to the one below and spent the day playing with kitty friends. At least now I know she can find her way home.

: Happy Anti-Labor Day weekend! I'm so excited for the day off, and my work week is ending on a good, and thankfully organized, note. Enjoy!

: Yesterday my awesome husband took me to the LA Zoo! Even though it was really hot, we had a fun time walking around and seeing all the animals. We got to see a baby giraffe (a real baby one, not just small) who was shorter than me. We had a personal visit with the jaguar and watched the elephant take a bath. One thing I was sad about was the koala house was closed, and they just had a couple out hiding in the shade. Also the penguins and polar bears were gone.

After the zoo, we went to Souplantation, where I ate as much as I possibly could. Then I took a nap and we went swimming. It sure was nice to have a day off, even though it means you have to go back to work.

[Comments] (6) Announcement: We're having a baby!

I'm 15 weeks pregnant and we're expecting a little one on February 28th (in reality we're not expecting him/her until March). But that's the news! Maybe now I'll have some exciting things to say again.

And yes, if you've been holding this news in, you can tell whoever you want now. Unless it's someone I work with. We're still pretending I'll be in my new position before anyone figures it out.

[Comments] (2) Happy Times: I must say that being pregnant hasn't been too bad. For the first while I felt a little sick pretty much all the time, but I only threw up once and I clearly lived through it. There were a few bad days (Disneyland with Tyler - everything smelled nasty, and flying home from Utah at 5:00 AM). Then I woke up feeling great a couple weeks ago. I've been really lucky. I asked Mom is she was sick when pregnant with us and she said it wasn't too bad. (Of course, this came from a woman who had thrown up all food for the past 3 years of her life.) Still, hopefully that's something Rachel will inherit also. I am still really tired, but right now I think it's more my busy schedule than my busy baby.

With Jamie in Canada and all the Heritage Creations stuff being shipped to our place, there's been a lot of heavy lifting for me to avoid. If John's home, he has been a good husband about bringing stuff in, but the office closes at 6, so I think I need a little cart.

Jellybean, of course, is no help at all. Doesn't lift a toe, that girl. Lately, her favorite place to sleep is on John's pillow. Can you say "Spoiled"?

Ok, I have a TON to accomplish at work today, so I'd best get back at it.

[Comments] (2) Beet: We have given our baby the nickname "Beet". This originally came from a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon we saw on our cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was a retelling of Cinderella; the evil stepsisters had awful names like Frunella and Griseldahide; Cinderella was called Beet and she was completely adorable.

If we find out we are having a boy, Beet will get a new nickname. If it's a girl, it'll probably stick forever (much to the dismay of my mother-in-law). Rachel has survived 20 years of being the Woot; I think our baby can withstand being Beet.

[Comments] (4) Rise and Shine: Working at 7 AM is starting to get annoying. I can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning. It's not a very good reason to have a baby, but I'm really looking forward to 3 months off work.

Things have been crazy around here. We are doing so much hiring to staff our new projects. It seems like I am always doing training, preparing new hire paperwork/files, or booking travel for interviews or new hires. It makes me feel like I haven't done any of my actual "work" in weeks.

In the meantime (before my 3 months off), I get Monday off for my birthday. We are going to Bakersfield this weekend to see Rachel. We're also having dinner at Pat's with the Richardsons on Sunday. This will actually be my first time in Bakersfield since May.

Progress: Ok, I'm maybe halfway through with the training materials I'm determined to complete today. 2 hours left. I can do it!

My tailbone hurts.

[Comments] (2) : Two things I'd really like for my birthday that I won't buy myself (yet): A box of milk chocolate-covered caramels from See's and a car wash.

[Comments] (1) Birthday Weekend: I had a wonderful weekend with John and Rachel. We went up with Jellybean Saturday morning, woke Rachel up and did the same two things I always do once I get to Bakersfield: bought real food for the house, and vaccuumed the spiders.

We went to church, met with a realtor to get the house-selling started, and had dinner at Pat's with a bunch of relatives. I got a cake with candles and "Happy Birthday" sung with the lights out and everything! We get our birthdays as holidays at work, so we stayed until Monday morning, doing some more cleanup around the house. On the way home, John and I stopped at the packing shed to get some more fruit. I brought a ton to work for Noelle and Efrain and to share.

Now it's back to busy busy busy work. Training days always drive me crazy. The good news is we had an HR assistant start yesterday who actually showed up. Apparently, responsible people still exist.

Work - TGIF: Last night I finished up scrapbooking kits for October and made six trips to the car to take it all out myself. I've been SO busy at my real job too. I've worked late every day this week. Too bad I'm Exempt.

I would have been late to work today, but thankfully I hit every green light. I was so exhausted getting up, tried on four pairs of jeans to find one that (I thought) fit, and then had to go back to the apartment to get my all-important lunch/snacks.

[Comments] (1) You Won't Believe This: I have actually moved into my new position. Actually. New cubicle. New title. New job duties. New computer. Actually. I hope you are appreciating the shock value.

: Sick. Bleh. I must have caught what the receptionist went home sick with on Friday. Boo to shared work spaces.

[Comments] (1) : Still sick. I am feeling 10 times better than yesterday. Functional at least, so I'm at work. I stayed home from work yesterday and wallowed in my flu. I pretty much lay in bed all day until John came home to take me to the doctor. After that I managed a short walk at the beach, and was rewarded with an Orange Berry Blitz jamba juice. My sweet husband also snuck a jamba juice gift card into my purse - Beet's first baby present!

: Poor John had to work very late last night and was gone again when I got up. Everyone send good wishes his way. He's such a hard worker and they just don't appreciate him enough over there.

[Comments] (3) Baby Girl: Getting even more excited for our new little addition. We spent the weekend in Bakersfield with Rachel doing practically nothing. We went to Target and looked around at baby stuff. I can't wait to put some of those ruffle-butt tights on my little girl!

: I haven't had a chance to mention all the cool stuff I got for my birthday. Leonard and Sumana sent me an awesome, waterproof, lose-proof (well, almost) key drive. Rachel brought me back a fishie windchime. I also got some books and DVDs, which a girl can never have enough of. I'm so spoiled.

: Accessory things I really like about my new position:

-Not being tied down to the reception desk for 2 hours a day.
-Being able to come in late
-Not having to babysit all the new employees
-Dealing with number problems instead of people problems

October: Yay!

October represents the first of many exciting things to come. First we have cooler weather, fall, yummy food and Halloween. Halloween is a lame holiday when you're a young single adult, but still fun. I made a BOO! decoration for my cubicle the other day, and then (with John's inspiration) a couple Halloween cards for our nieces and nephews.

I'm excited to make lots of yummy soup and pumpkin-esque foods to warm us up throughout the fall and winter. By the time that gets old comes Thanksgiving, when we get to take a week off of life and fly to NYC to visit Leonard and Sumana and many yet-to-be-determined sights. NYC! woo hoo! Then I can get all jazzed for Christmas and the real holiday season. I love buying stuff for people, more yummy food, and we get to spend it in Utah where there will be kids. I miss the kids.

In January I'll come back to work for a very long two months before Beet decides to come out of her warm, cozy, spicy home and let John have a turn holding her. I'm so excited!

PS: Tammy was joking about the ocean-view birthing room I'll have at the hospital (which is right off the PCH).

[Comments] (7) I Know It's Disgusting But: I can't stop eating Taco Bell.

[Comments] (1) Vegetarian: "October 27, 1985, Los Angeles

Nowadays Roy is often away on business. Rachel requests the lullaby:

Bye baby bunting, Daddy's gone ahunting
To get a little rabbit skin
To wrap the Baby Bunting in.

She puts her lower lip out and sometimes actually sobs. When I come to the end she doesn't want me to stop.

"Sing it again" she pleads.

I can't figure out if she is unhappy because Daddy is gone or because the rabbit got skinned. But tonight she is sleeping with three toy rabbits in her bed."

: Yesterday's quote came from a neat journal I found while looking for Mom's journal during her pregnancies. The journal was from November 1978 to November 1985 and was written in by my dad on the left and my mom on the right. Our "Richardson Family Funnies" may be missing, but there were plenty of cute things we said as kids recorded in this journal. So cute that I had to call Leonard yesterday just to tell him how cute he was.

[Comments] (2) : I wanted to go home and take a nap after work, but I decided to go to the store. On the way to the store I decided to get my haircut. When I got home, I put the groceries away and made a cheeseball. Then I went through the Voter Information guide we got in the mail to see what I thought. Then I figured I'd better do the dishes (John doesn't like when I take naps with a messy sink). Then I took a shower, sorted out some new deliveries for Coordinates Collections, made a few paper add-on kits and, since I still hadn't taken a nap, worked on my quilt. I finished putting together the top (or bottom) half. Tonight I am going to put together the other side, then I will be nearly done!

By this point it was 8:00, so I decided to read a little bit (I am reading Angels and Demons, which John bought me for my birthday) and go to bed at 8:30. Then John came home, so I got to snuggle with and talk to him for a while. So, I'm still tired but I got a lot done. I am excited to FINALLY finish a quilt. I like doing the tying part. Mom's sewing machine doesn't get "stuck" as much as mine used to - and that's what makes sewing take a long time.

I really like my new haircut. It's about at my chin, with just the bottom layered. I have bangs too, which I don't like, because they won't do what I want. I want them to be cute bangs like Rachel has, not ugly bangs like I have. Oh well.

We got some free tickets to Universal Studios and are going on Saturday with Rachel and her friend Rob. Rachel and I have never been before. I'm not going to take Beet on most of the rides, but I think they have a lot of shows and fun stuff, and the weather should be nice.

I'm starting to get to a really uncomfortable place with my clothes. My stretchy stuff still fits, and most of my shirts, but I don't have very much stretchy stuff I can wear to work. John bought me a few maternity things at Old Navy, but they don't quite fit yet.

Wishlist Time: I almost did this yesterday and didn't. Then I ended up shopping and calling Leonard anyway. So here goes:

Since we don't know how many if any of us will be together at Christmas, we want to take advantage of our trip to New York to exchange gifts/stocking stuffers (but no opening!). So tell us what you want! Post a list on your blog or update your Amazon wishlist and let us know. I'll get mine up in a bit.

If you don't think I'm talking to you (going to buy you anything), you should make a wishlist anyway. Wouldn't you rather get what you want?

: Ok, here is my boring wishlist:

Stuff for Beet
CDs
White non-flipflop sandals
Pearl earrings
Scanner
USB mouse
USB keyboard
gift certificates for restaurants

I also updated my Amazon wishlist. Beet is making a list too ("one poke for yes, two pokes for no") but she keeps falling asleep and isn't done yet.

[Comments] (1) : On Monday, my wonderful husband called me as I was leaving work and said, "Come straight home, I have a surprise for you." He had brought home Pizza Hut (free), a DVD, and a little packet of Nerds for me. "Happy half-way through pregnancy," he says. He had also cleaned the house. Too cute!

Yesterday I finished putting together my quilt, stuffed, and started tying it. Turns out the quilt batting I've kept under our bed for the past two years is actually pillow stuffing; I used it anyway.

[Comments] (2) : It's nice to have a job that I enjoy again. Today our director brought in bagels, just because she likes us (and we got donuts last week). My new boss is also very cool. Noelle teases me about the time, about a year ago, when I said I didn't like her; I came back five minutes later to say that I had changed my mind. She told me to order a privacy screen for my computer, since I am in a big cubicle and people can walk in behind me, and said "besides, then people can't see when you're on the internet."

I got up to go to the bathroom at 3:00 this morning. I think this was the first time I was successful at killing a cockroach in the middle of the night. Then I went to bed and Beet kept me up hiccuping. I was only up for 1/2 hour though - sometimes it takes me an hour to fall back asleep. That's really why I hate getting up in the night (and the cockroaches).

Last night we tried to see if John could feel Beet kicking and she happily obliged (loves her daddy). She was kicking me so hard, I thought John was poking me! When I asked if John felt it he says, "I felt you twitching. It felt like you were passing gas." See, he knows exactly what it feels like!

Also when I said his daughter was happy to kick when he had his hand on my tummy, John said, "That's right, she's my daughter; She's just staying at Hotel Susie for a while."

Happy Monday: I am so used to dreading work: last night I kept reminding myself today would be a good day. And other than extreme tiredness (for some reason I was unable to sleep in this weekend), it has been. I am still enjoying the work and challenges presented by my new position, and oh-so-glad not to be in my old one.

I guess the bad news would be that I didn't have a great lunch and I don't have great dinner plans. I'd better think of something fast!

[Comments] (2) How About: Another entry on how great my husband is?

John hasn't complained about the not-quite-as-clean house. He's been doing the laundry with me and the grocery shopping so I don't have to carry too much (he even helps fold the laundry). And even though I haven't made a real dinner more than 5 times in the past month, he still does the dishes for me. He kindly complied when I asked to go out for Mexican food, and when I wanted to take a walk when he got home, even though it was already dark.

In Primary on Sunday, he let me finish playing a game with the kids so he could take control of our hyperactive boy with Down Syndrome (the kids were fed cookies before class). He lets me go to bed insanely early, even when he wants to watch TV. Beet and I are so spoiled!

[Comments] (2) As the World Turns: Today I got an email asking if I'd done my visiting teaching. My supervisor is an older woman, but I guess I shouldn't have been suprised to see her using email; she works in the stake family history library, and wears her key drive around her neck at church.

I'm wearing a "new" skirt today. It's so much fun to fit into new clothes every week! Last night John and I went to dinner with the new EY BYU "club". I love when spouses are invited. I enjoyed talking to a guy John didn't know and his wife, and meeting a few people from EY I had heard about. Here's a quote: Waiter: Did anyone order an ice tea refill? BYU Alumni: *Silence*

Tonight we are going to a dinner for people on John's project, so I will have heard about most of them, and that will be fun. Plus the food might be better than last night - thumbs down to Buca di Beppo.

[Comments] (1) Weird Stuff: As my navel is starting to look different with my growing tummy, John and I got into a whole discussion on belly buttons. I showed John a picture in a pregnancy magazine, which didn't make him excited about the concept, and I hope my belly button will return to somewhat normal after Beet comes. He claimed he had never seen anyone with an "outie" and challenged me to think of someone. Well, the only belly buttons I can think of are Leonard's and Rachel's (both innies), but later I happened to notice one of our Primary kids has an outie. I suspect my nieces and nephews all have innies, thinking I would have noticed otherwise, but perhaps this is egocentric?

This led me to wondering how many people have outies, and if it is actually less than the number of lefthanded people (a more obvious trait, at least in my circle). I can name a lot of people who are lefthanded.

I've also been wondering what happens to the 1/3 full toilet paper rolls that get removed from restrooms. Are they thrown away? Do the cleaning people get to take them home? Imagine closets full of nearly empty TP rolls...

Newsworthy: I called Rachel today since she hadn't responded to some emails, and because I'm a caring sister. She says, "Oh, I was going to email you to tell you I used up that lotion."

John took me to the LA Temple on Saturday. We had a fun day being out-and-about together. He has to work the next few Saturdays, so I am going to Bakersfield to spend time with Rachel this weekend.

[Comments] (5) If I had dog ears, I could have been her: I am being Piglet today for Halloween. I've got my ears on, two pink shirts, John's grey PJ bottoms and pink striped socks. I even made a sign for my cubicle that says "TRESPASSERS W", but it doesn't appear that my coworkers are into children's literature.

Kathy came in and said, "you're a pregnant pig!" which didn't sound altogether flattering. Besides, Piglet is a boy. I brought a huge bag of chips for the potluck and I really want to eat some (8:53 AM). Oink.

[Comments] (1) Sneaky Paws: I went up to Bakersfield to visit Rachel this weekend. When I got up to go to the bathroom this morning, Jellybean decided to come in with me. Then fat kitty paws appeared under the door and Jellybean sneakily hopped onto the counter and stood ready to pounce when I opened the door. Sneaky kitty.

I made a ton of scrapbook kits, cleaned up the yard a bit, and we went to see Flushed Away. It was a pretty good movie. I liked the little serenading slugs, but I always like the sidekick characters.

: Today has been a good day.

[Comments] (1) Party!: Our work holiday party this year is at the Disneyland Hotel, with free tickets to the park after. This makes my employer very cool, although not quite as cool as John's because spouses aren't invited. I didn't think Noelle would want to hang out with me, because I won't be able to go on any of the rides and I'll want to go home early. Then I found out she wasn't going to go to the park because she thought I wouldn't want to go. So we're going together. I love having a best friend.

bump: Somebody tiny has the hiccups.

Error 23302: Sometimes I feel like I make a lot of mistakes. I probably don't make more than the average person, but I don't notice every mistake the average person makes. *sigh*

[Comments] (3) How many mes?: According to this there is only one of me in the United States. I was doubtful at first, but a quick google search made me think that it may possibly be the case, assuming that one of the criteria is life.

: I get to go home early today, and Victoria brought donuts. Last time she brought donuts I ate three... and I'm heading that way again. I have to go to the post office after work, but I should have time to clean the apartment. In the meantime, I'm going to post a bunch of recipes that I've tried lately. I haven't exactly been cooking a whole lot lately, but inspiration from new recipes has given me the occasional motivation.

Lemon-Basil Pork Chops:

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 boneless pork loin chops

Combine the egg and lemon juice. Combine the bread crumbs, butter, lemon peel and basil in a separate dish. Dip pork chops in egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture.

Place in a 9x13 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

These didn't turn out as crunchy as I would have liked, but John thought they were pretty good, and he doesn't like pork. I'll definitely make them again.

Spicy Orange Beef:

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3/4 cup green onions, 1-inch slices
1 cup snap peas

Combine garlic, pepper, and beef, tossing well. Combine rind, juice, cornstarch, and soy sauce, stirring with a whisk.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture, peas, and onions; sauté 2 minutes. Add juice mixture; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Serve beef mixture over rice.

This was very delicious, even as leftovers, but I must warn you that the leftovers sure looked yucky.

Pasta Fagioli Soup:

12 ounces sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 
3 cups chicken broth 
1/2 cup uncooked small seashell pasta 
2 small coarsely chopped zucchini 
1 can stewed tomatoes 
1 teaspoon dried basil 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 can kidney beans, drained 
1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese 

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add sausage; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and pasta; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano, and beans; cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until pasta and zucchini are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

This soup was very easy to make. No hard-to-chop vegetables involved, unlike most of the soups I've made. Definitely worth the time involved.

Pumpkin Pancakes:

2 cups flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

Mix together milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.

Heat griddle over medium high heat. Pour batter onto griddle using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides.

The batter for these pancakes was so thick that the outside was getting crispy before the inside was cooked, so they were a bit doughy. These weren't as delicious as I'd have liked, but Mrs. Butterworth made a fine companion.

Crockpot Chicken with Vegetables and Creamy Mustard-Herb Sauce:

1 can cream of chicken soup with herbs
2 1/2 lb. chicken
1 1/2 c. sliced leeks
4 medium potatoes
8 oz. baby carrots
1 T. dijon mustard
2 T. chopped green onions
2 T. chopped dill

Pour soup into the bottom of crockpot. Add chicken and vegetables and mix well. Cook on low 7-9 hours. Remove chicken and vegetables. Stir mustard into the sauce with a whisk. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Garnish with chopped herbs.

It was nice to come home to a hot meal, but there are two things I don't like about crockpot cooking. First, the food is always overcooked. John turned it on when he left for work, and I turned it off when I got home, but it was still too long. Second, I think everything cooked in the crockpot tastes the same. This recipe did make a valiant effort to be different.

: John and I spent a fun and productive Saturday together. We signed a new lease (we are moving 10 yards into a 2 bedroom apartment), went changing-table shopping at IKEA, practiced the organ, searched for a Sumana Christmas gift, bought groceries, and went to see Dead Man's Chest at the dollar theatre in Irvine. We also decorated the apartment for Christmas. We figure we'll be gone for a week visiting Leonard in New York, and we probably won't want to redecorate after we move (on December 15). Might as well enjoy it now.

Last night Jon, Sharon, Brynn, Kristan and Sarah came by. We had pizza, pumpkin ice cream and a fun time chatting for a few hours. It was good to see them! I love having family. Brynn has a very cute haircut.

: Here is a cute story I've been meaning to post since we announced the coming Beet.

It was about a week after we had told the family about the baby and we had explained that we were calling her Beet. It was the day Jamie was moving so John, Jodi and I took Tyler and Justin back to our place to get them out of the way. We went to the pool where the boys hopped in, and the adults lazily put our feet in. Justin was trying to get us to come in with him and said, "I want you to come in! Aunt Jodi and Aunt Pete!"

[Comments] (1) NYC Here I Come!: Tomorrow morning John and I are leaving to visit Leonard and Sumana in New York. I'm so excited! We get to see and do lots of cool things, plus make a yummy (and starch-containing) meal for Thanksgiving.

John has been going into work later the past few days so he doesn't get taken advantage of. In fact, I got home after him the past two days (but I get paid for working overtime). He still gets up and goes to work out when I am up in the morning, and today he even took the laundry for me! I'm so lucky to have such a good husband.

Not only are we moving on the same day as our work holiday party, but our year-end closing must be done that week, which means even busierness for me. But again, I get paid overtime now. I love that!

[Comments] (1) : We are having an awesome time in New York. So far we have seen Central Park, the Met, Times Square, Union Square, Washington Square, NYU, The Statue of Liberty (yay!), Chinatown, Little Italy, took a cruise around all of Manhattan Island, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. This morning we got up quite early and went to the Farmer's Market with Leonard to get fresh vegetables, chicken, eggs, bread and etc. for the massive amounts of food we are making for tomorrow.

This afternoon John and I are going to the top of the Rockefellar Center, walking around Central Park some more, and going to see the Manhattan Temple. Tomorrow is devoted to cooking, eating delicious food and relaxing. Friday Leonard is taking us to Flushing Park in Queens. It's been a very fun trip and we're lucky to have a nice place to stay with Leonard and Sumana and be able to see everything we've wanted. Love the public transit.

: Today Leonard, John and I went to Flushing Meadows to see the World's Fair leftovers. The Unisphere was very cool, but all the fountains were turned off or drained and the Pavillion was closed (although the mosaic map on the floor appeared to be completely gone anyway). Still, it was neat to see and a nice walk. We burned some of the calories from our Thanksgiving feast yesterday.

The tarts Leonard made (pear and chocolate-pecan) were excellent. I also really loved his Parkerhouse rolls and the gravy. I mostly did prep work with the vegetables, but it was fun to help. We made a big batch of truffles today, chocolate, almond and mint flavored. And of course we had yummy mashed potatoes.

Early tomorrow morning we are heading back to the West Coast to rest up for the busy month ahead. We are moving soon, and the next 3 or 4 weeks will be the busiest for me at work. It was nice to get such a great vacation in before all that. Beet has hardly been any trouble, other than my poor hurty feet. Yesterday was the only day we've had rain. It's really turned out to be good timing for our vacation.

: Tonight I got a wonderful baby shower gift from "Aunt Sumana": a 90-minute pre-natal massage at a local spa. Sumana couldn't come with because she had to work today, but the boys walked me down there and I had a relaxing 90 minutes snuggled with pillows and blankets and getting spoiled. ahhh... I was on my side, like Kristen - I think my neck and shoulders would have been better if I was on my tummy, but he did his best, and he did get my face and head in addition. My feet have hurt a lot this trip, and this is the first time my lower back has been sore (maybe the bed?) So it was awfully nice to have such a treat today. Thanks Sumana!

Home Run: We made it home after a very long day of traveling. John let me take an awesome nap, since we got up at 1:30 AM California time. Beet really enjoyed the flight. She was wiggling around like a crazy baby. Or maybe I was just sitting around doing nothing long enough that I felt her more.

During my nap I had a dream I was sorting the presents and stocking stuffers I've got for John, Rachel and myself, and there were tons of big presents, mostly for Rachel. You know, when you're old the presents get smaller and more expensive it seems.

I am wearing my ducky PJs.

: Last night John and I went on a little shopping spree at Target. I got a couple items of maternity clothes, John got a poinsettia, and we bought some stocking stuffers and little gifts for ourselves, Rachel, our Primary children and our nieces and nephews. It was a lot of fun; I love Target. Today I'm wearing my cute new clothes (it's a Professional Dress day).

I bought John an early Christmas present in New York - a Sudoku book. I promptly got addicted. John is sooo much better at it than I am though.

: The other day my friend Jennifer came over to say goodbye - they are moving to Arizona. She brought me an early baby gift, part of which was an adorable white onesie with puffy sleeves and embroidery. She also made me some burpcloths by taking cloth diapers and sewing ribbon and fabric on them. John heard us talking about sewing on cloth diapers and was a little weirded out until I explained you used them as burpcloths. These are the first baby girl clothes we've got - still holding off on buying stuff!

[Comments] (2) No Matter How Small: John has started reading a Dr. Seuss book to Beet every night. She seems to really like it, and I can't blame her; I loved when my parents read to me.

It's fun to listen to John read and hear something Mom was always saying. (The difference between this and "we wonderss, yess, we wonderss" is that when Mom was quoting Dr. Seuss, I knew she was quoting Dr. Suess. Not so creepy.) Here's my recent favorite, from Horton Hears a Who.

"Humpf!", humpfed a voice. Twas a sour kangaroo.
And the young kangaroo in her pouch said, "Humpf!" too.

[Comments] (1) Woof, Woof: I am getting so excited for Christmas! Not only do we get to spend it with all our nieces and nephews, but we are staying with Brook and Erin, which means... Doggies! Also hope to spend lots of time with Grandma June.

[Comments] (1) : I have had five people tell me today how cute I am all pregnant. One girl actually said, "You should be the poster child for cute pregnant women."

: The company I work for is owned by a of couple South African doctors, and we have a bunch of employees from SA. I work directly with a lady named Cheryl who has started everyone saying "spot on" whenever they don't find errors in my data entry they're reviewing. I have little "spot on!" stickies all over my screen.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I used the phrase "for reals" the other day and had to explain it to her.

Today is the last day for people to turn in bills & expenses to get paid this year, so we are extremely busy this week. Also, the person who has been teaching me Payroll is out this week, and I am on my own. And we're moving on Friday. Stress! I'm glad I get paid overtime.

: I can't believe I actually finished payroll in time (and correctly the first time, which is a first). Now I get to go to our company holiday party and then to Disneyland!

Rachel and John are slaving away at home moving our stuffs... Rachel brought a laundry basket full of lemons which we juiced last night and had some delicious homemade lemonade.

[Comments] (1) : Before I dive headfirst into my piles of work, I'm forcing myself to take the time to write a nice long update.

First things first, I love our new apartment! It feels so spacious, even with all the baby and scrapbooking stuff piled in "Rachel's Room". Things I like: new carpet and linoleum; it's downstairs; bigger dishwasher; more cupboard and closet space (the closets are awesome!); the showerhead; we moved our TV out of the bedroom. Things I don't like: the microwave (I didn't know non-turning ones still existed); the counterspace; all of the lightswitches are in really weird places.

John and Rachel did an awesome job moving all the stuff, including emptying out the storage unit. We had some help from friends with the furniture, but John and Rachel did most of the work. yay!

I've still been extra busy at work... I'm hoping it'll die down next year, but I may be playing catchup for a couple weeks. This week hasn't been as bad as last, so far. I actually left practically on time yesterday. John made a yummy pot roast, and we went to South Coast Plaza to pick up some jewelry for Jamie. We went for a walk around the mall (so crowded) to take advantage of the only time I will ever be carrying a Tiffany and Co. bag. John even offered to buy me some See's, but we decided it wasn't worth the wait. I'm glad we're done with Christmas shopping. One less thing to worry about right now.

[Comments] (3) Gah!: My baby is due in 10 weeks!

Happy Birthday: My little car turned 100,000 miles on the way to Disneyland on Friday. What a way to celebrate!

Happy Christmas Eve!: Made it all safe to Utah. We are staying with John's brother and his family (and the dogs!). Having fun so far, other than I fell down the stairs this morning and my tailbone really hurts. John insists that clumsiness is a choice, but eventually gave in with an "awww, poor Susie!"

Ember is such a good reader. She read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to Beet last night, and I think some other stories to her Uncle John. Beet appears to be quite spoiled already. Erin is giving us her baby swing, also some clothes from her friend's baby girl, and Ray and Lynn (Erin's parents) gave us a gift which Ember says is for the baby. Such a happy Christmas for a happy baby - other than being rudely awakened by a bump bump bump down the stairs.

: Still in Utah, still having a fun time with the family. Last night we had a baby shower at Grandma June's. We had yummy taco salad, and I ate about 10 cream puffs. My nieces were there all cute and handing me presents. I got lots of cute pink clothes and blankets. Susan gave me the blanket John's Grandma Chadwick made for his blessing and Jamie bought us an adorable little blessing dress with little booties.

Ashley made the invitations and also some announcements for us with a "beet" theme. And Linda made some little onesies that say "Baby Beet". She'll never shake the nickname now!

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