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[Comments] (1) The 25 Days of Christmas: Today I took Maggie to the Church History Museum to see the I Am a Child of God exhibit. It would have been more fun with more kids because there are some dress-up/act out activities, but she had a good time. I got a little confused when I had her walk on the straight and narrow path holding on to the iron rod - isn't it supposed to lead to the Kingdom of God or something? Then I realized I had her walk the wrong direction - away from the Tree of Life. Oops.

The words to the song are printed around the room, along with related quotes and other songs, and there are activities for each. There are babies to dress and take care of for "Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear", scripture activities for "Teach me all that I must do" and temples to build for "To live with him some day." It's quite clever.

Afterwards, we met up with John, ate a PBJ dinner in the car, then walk over to Temple Square to look at the lights and the Christmas trees. It wasn't too cold and we got out of there before it got crowded, but after the freeway traffic cleared. Very well executed, if I do say so myself.

Each day this month, I have something fun and Christmas-y planned to do with Maggie. I'm going to post pictures each day, so check my picture blog for the updates.

Wishlist '09: Lame stuff. We really don't need anything, and I don't want anything I don't need.

Payless gift card for cute cheap shoes
Jo-Ann gift card
restaurant gift cards
expensive bath pouf
vacuum
blender (stuff we got for our wedding is now wearing out)
chocolate-covered cinnamon bears
Amazon wishlist - some kitchen things I'd like

The kids don't really need anything except maybe clothes.

Dalton's Blessing: Today was Dalton's blessing day. We had John's entire family there, except for Dave, who had to work, and Tyler, who was sick. Jon and Sharon and some of their family came, and Tyler and Tasha. John gave him a beautiful blessing and it was great having everyone there with us. Dalton looks smashing in his little (not white) suit, and Maggie was just adorable in her Christmas dress. I put her hair in braids with ribbons on the ends, but I think it was a mess by the time any pictures got taken. She's got her cousins carrying her around upside down, so her hair messes easily now.

After Sacrament Meeting, we came back to our house for lunch. I made 4 lbs of penne (just enough for the 29 of us and John's lunch tomorrow!), pesto, and a butternut squash sauce. We also had red sauce, some delicious salads, rice krispy treats, and garlic bread. Simple, yet delicious.

There were three babies blessed in our ward, but that hardly compared to Tyler's baptism yesterday - he was among 8 children to be baptized in his stake! We all made the drive up to Logan. Jodi and Franco almost didn't make it and we ended up picking them up in our car halfway there. There was some snow, and a LOT of accidents. But we were all safe and able to be there to support Tyler.

[Comments] (3) Oh Dear: Maggie has started saying, "Oh bother!"

Tantrum Time: Maggie has been throwing a lot of tantrums lately. A lot of times it's because I can't give her attention when she wants it, and a lot of times it's because she needs a wipe. Today she got mad at a playdate because I made her say please for a wipe. She wouldn't put her coat and gloves on and screamed the whole way home (3 blocks). Then she got mad that I wouldn't hold her (and push the stroller uphill at the same time). She screamed in her bed for 1/2 hour, then asked nicely for a wipe and chocolate milk (which I wouldn't give her, so she settled for apple juice) and went to sleep. Not even going to the aquarium with Colette would break her grumpiness, so she gets a nap instead. This is her third nap this week (and fourth tantrum). The doctor says to ignore, and don't give in or reward with treats.

Dalton is also asleep, miraculously not in my arms, so I'm off to do some sewing projects. I'm not in much of a mood to make anything for Maggie, but that's all that's left.

2 Hot Dogs Later: Wow, that was fast. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have time to yourself.

Christmas Spirit: Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year - we picked out someone from the Angel Tree and bought gifts. We chose a one-year-old boy who liked Winnie-the-Pooh, and bought some clothes, a soft stuffed Pooh bear, and an electronic Pooh book that Maggie has - and has been one of her favorite toys for nearly two years. We also bought stuff to make a gift basket for the ward.

This morning was breakfast with Santa. We practiced asking Maggie what she wanted Santa to bring her for Christmas.

Maggie: A present.
Us: What kind of present?
Maggie: Yellow.
Us: ? What do you want in your present?
Maggie: A horsie.

She sat pretty willingly on Santa's lap, although she said she didn't want to. Dalton didn't seem to mind either.

After the breakfast, we went to Jodi's ward, and provided some musical entertainment. John, Ember and I played the piano, and Jodi sang, and Jodi and I sang (Mom accompanied). I'm so proud of Ember. She did really well, and John said he was surprised at how difficult her pieces were. She had obviously been practicing really hard and I'm glad we thought to have her come and play. After all, isn't this what lessons are for?

No, Never!: Today I wore a pair of my regular size jeans (which I barely fit into). 25 more pounds to go...

I've resumed piano lessons. My babysitter is only 12 and I don't think she knows much about babies. But what better way to learn than just for 1 hour when I'm home? Maggie was on the couch looking out the window for her for an hour and a half before she came.

I made a really yummy dinner (cilantro-lime chicken with rice and fried zucchini) and did the dishes and got the floor cleaned. It sure was nice to accomplish something besides laundry. Dalton was nice enough to sleep on Daddy while I cleaned up.

To Maggie, With Love:
Maggie, "reading" a Christmas card from Grandma June: And a really, really, big present....

Parties: On Friday, John and I left the kids with his parents (yay! Maggie had fun and Dalton actually drank his bottle) and went to his work Christmas party. It wasn't quite what we expected, and it certainly wasn't the grand affair they've had in years past, but we had a nice time. It was in his boss's newly remodeled house in the Avenues - all the comforts of the 21st century and all the details (and oddities) of the 19th. Rachel would have loved it.

Yesterday we went to visit Grandma June with Brook's family. Today we had Jodi and Franco over for dinner and to give them their gift, since they will be gone on Christmas. I made BBQ chicken pizza and we had Ceasar salad and sugar cookies and delicious grape juice Leonard sent for my birthday. Maggie got out a present that said "Maggie" from under the tree and wanted to open it when Jodi ad Franco opened theirs. We're such nice parents to let her! (It was yogurt-covered raisins.)

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like: A Bakersfield Christmas. A foggy day! I sang Rudolph to Maggie and told her how the clouds come down sometimes (though rarely here).

[Comments] (1) The Amazing Susie: In the last week, not only have I actually scrapbooked, I even exercised.

[Comments] (1) Looking Forward To: When I took Dalton to his 2 month appointment, the doctor told me I was feeding him too much - too often, that is. He said he should be able to go at least 3 hours during the day. Well, he was right. Dalton won't always wait quite three hours, but I've definitely been feeding him less often, and he eats better and longer at each feeding because of it. This makes it easier to go places and do stuff. Also, he is sleeping up to 8 1/2 hours at night, which is great.

At John's work party the other night, we were talking about how dismal January is. The holidays are over. Work becomes busy. The weather is crappy. And there's nothing to look forward to - the next day off John gets is Memorial Day. John is once again going to Orange County to work on a project for a client down there who keeps requesting him. And this year we are going, too! We will be in California for 10 days. We're going to get 6 day passes to Disneyland, and I'm planning to take the kids (during the week when John is working) up to Pat's house to see my family. I'm very excited.

Christmas Magic: Last night we went to the Christmas Eve party at John's aunt Birgitta's house. She's been hosting this party for about 30 years and it is a LOT of fun. There's tons of food, the kids run around like crazy, and everyone has some rice pudding and hopes for an almond in theirs to win a prize. Then we sing Christmas songs by candlelight and do Santa Lucia (although that didn't happen this year).

There were around 50 people there last night. It sounds like a lot, but considering Grandma June has 30 grandchildren, 23 of whom are married, 20 of whom have children, and 18 of whom have more than 1 child, a lot of people were missing. From our family it was just us, Susan, and Nathan's family. The last time we went was 3 years ago, when I was 6 months pregnant and had fallen down Brook and Erin's stairs earlier that day. Two years ago, a big storm kept us from venturing out, and last year we ended up in the ER.

This year I got to help Birgitta dole out the rice pudding and accept lots of compliments on Dalton (he has big eyes, holds his head up well, sleeps good and is generally the cutest thing ever. John said one of his cousins said he doesn't think boy babies are cute, but Dalton is.)

This morning, Maggie had to wait for John to finish running and for us to shower. She was impatient, not because she wanted to see what Santa left but because I wouldn't let her see Daddy (Santa visited the same room as the elliptical). She was pretty thrilled and we got some good photos. John joked that she would be happy if we'd filled her stocking with her existing toys. That's probably true; she's been carrying it around full of her toys for days. She got some fun treats and some Snoopy socks and Hello Kitty clippies. Santa brought her a blue table and a stuffed horse.

I made crepes with nutella, bananas and cream for breakfast. Our blender died a few days ago (everything we got for our wedding is falling apart) but luckily the hand blender worked ok. After breakfast we opened our presents to each other. We got Maggie and easel and some art supplies. John got a big mirror which we hung over the couch. Leonard sent me some Scrabble tile earrings. We actually didn't get Dalton anything. Santa gave him an elephant and he had a present from Leonard, Rachel, and Aunt Pat (who sent If You Give A... books)

And I have a surprise present coming tomorrow which requires babysitting...

No, Thanks: (Maggie's latest saying)

I am a little weary of Christmasness so refer to John's blog for part two of the Christmas rundown. I did finally get around to posting pictures. Now you can share in our 25 days of Christmasy goodness. Enjoy.

Yesterday Susan babysat while John took me to The Harvest restaurant at Thanksgiving Point. It was delicious. Instead of getting expensive dessert, we went to the candy shoppe and bought our favorites. It was a great date.

We are home sick from church today. I guess between being sick and having sick kids, I am too tired to enjoy any more holiday.

On Christmas Eve we went to the mall to enjoy the shopping/holiday frenzy. We paid $1.50 for Maggie to ride the carousel and walked around. They have a little dino play area. She climbed up on half an egg buried in the ground, put her fists to her mouth and started making trumpeting noises. An angel!, she says. Now she goes around tooting her horn and pretending to be the Angel Moroni.

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