[Comments] (2) Happy 2007!: Happy to be back to a nice day at work. We had such a fun time with the family in Utah. I sure missed my nieces and nephews, and it was a lot of fun to stay with Logan, Ember, Nebo and Jazzy. I got plenty spoiled with a few new books, DVDs and lotions, and a teensy iPod shuffle. Like I said, spoiled. We also had a baby shower with John's extended family, some Whitneys, and my best Linda. So many cute little pink things! Erin also gave us some of Ember's baby clothes and her baby swing, so we are getting stocked.

For New Year's, John took me to eat at a yummy restaurant at Downtown Disney and bought me (Beet) a very soft Piglet. We drove around doing other baby shopping, and then John put together our crib and made the room so cute with his Pooh stuffed animals (except we don't have Pooh). I can't wait to have a little Baby Beet.

You Know You're an Accountant When: The other day my boss told me to use a staple instead of a paperclip... because it's cheaper.

Withdrawal: Yesterday at work I noticed that, after spending so much time with him, I missed John! Today is a little better, but he is leaving for a 2-day training in LA tonight. And no Jellybean for company either. wah!

[Comments] (2) : This weekend was one of our last few relaxing ones pre-Beet. John has to start putting in long hours until April 15th (or the baby comes...) We got a Costco membership and took a very long walk on the beach.

Also, it is very hot here.

[Comments] (2) The Golden State: Yesterday I met with both our (interim) HR director and my doctor to discuss when and how I can take my maternity leave. Not only am I eligible for FMLA, but California has FOUR other types of leave I can take, two of which are paid. I even have just enough sick time to cover one of the waiting periods. Since all the leave I'm planning to take will be covered by the state, I've decided to take 2 (of the 4 alloted) weeks off before my due date.

I'm not naive enough to think this is free; we pay state disability taxes. But I am smart enough to go back to work after Beet arrives so that I can get the most out of my tax money in the meantime. It may be expensive to live here, but you can't beat getting paid to spend time with your baby! Not every company gives full paid leave like John gets.

Sunshine: It's dark and gloomy outside today, though I'm still wearing a dress and sandals. In fact, I am wearing Aunt Carolyn's green dress, I think the only pre-pregnancy clothing that still fits. I can only wear skirts with sandals because the only maternity tights I could find were $17 and I refused to buy them.

I left work a bit early yesterday and took a nice nap before John got home. I even made dinner; tonight will be the third time this week! Not an amazing feat, I know, but it has proved hard enough the past few months.

[Comments] (2) : Just six more weeks of having my baby safe and quiet inside. "Quiet" is a relative term; just because I can't actually hear her thumping around in there doesn't mean she's not trying to be noisy. She gets the hiccups every few hours now and it has started to keep me awake. Oh well, for all of my complaining, I can't really complain. Being pregnant has been very easy for me (how soon I forgot the one time I did throw up...)

John was sweet enough to take me out for dinner last night. All the salad I could eat!

: Aunt Sandi sent us a blanket she made for the baby. It so cute and just about the softest thing ever. I was teasing John that I was surprised he hadn't stolen it to sleep with yet, as he really likes soft things.

[Comments] (3) : Anne took Rachel and I to dinner last night at Maggiano's. It was very yummy, but I'm afraid I ate way too much yesterday, between that and free lunch at work. Afterwards, we drove Anne up to Gayla's in LA and got home rather late due to construction. Rachel is sleeping in Beet's room on our new air mattress.

I've got to hurry through my work so I can leave. Rachel and I are going up to Bakersfield once I've sent out the checks. Pat and Shannon are throwing me a shower tomorrow, I can't wait to see them and everyone, and it sounds very lovely. John is going to come up Saturday morning, since he has to work all day today. I'm told Jellybean is excited to see us.

[Comments] (1) Baby Shower: Wherein Beet more fully establishes herself in the world.

This weekend Pat and Shannon threw me a lovely shower in Bakersfield. All the girls in the family came, except for Tina who was very sick. Even Aunt Lou and Melissa drove down. Most everyone else was from 2nd ward. As I said, it was very lovely. We had the cutest (and yummiest) Pooh-decorated cake, and little pink chinese take-out containers for favors, and played non-cheesy games and had lunch and pink lemonade.

And I got to open presents! Beet got lots of winnie-the-pooh things (she doesn't know it yet, but she loves Pooh). John had fun putting her new bedding on the crib and hanging up the little mobile. He put Pooh and Tigger all cute in the crib, and hung the Pooh blankets on our blanket stand. I took pictures, maybe John will upload them for me!

We also got lots of fun little outfits and practical things. We actually have some (too big) diapers in the house now, and maybe enough clothes to keep her from being naked. Rachel bought us a chic diaper bag in a non-girly pattern. So basically Shannon and Pat spoiled me as much as possible, with some help from the ward and some friends.

Rachel had to work Saturday night, so John and I went and hung around the bookstore for an hour and a half. We bought a birthday present for Hannah. Then we spent quality time with the pathetic kitties - you would think Rachel never petted them. I only have four weeks of work left!

yay or nay:

Bleh: We had a meeting this morning with our new boss. Luckily Beet was awake and having fun, so that kept me entertained.

Yay: Jamie is coming into town this weekend for CHA. I can't wait to see her, and I am taking 2 days off work to go to the show with her.

Bleh: I am really craving chocolate.

Yay: I sold Andrea a cup-o-soup for 25 cents (they are 95 cents in the vending machine) so I can afford to buy myself some chocolate.

Bleh: complain complain.

Yay: 5 more weeks (ish) until I'm a mommy!

Surprise!: I went with my department to lunch today, thinking it was to complain about things, but turns out it was cause they love me! This does explain why they insisted I pick the place and kept asking me what we were going to order...

Anyway, Maggie got some fun presents. Andrea bought her several adorable outfits, Cheryl got her a Winnie-the-Pooh plastic "book" that plays music and talks and a yellow duckie towel/clothes set ("you're having a girl?" she says), Annie and Victoria gave her a bouncer and a play mat for tummy time. Such fun toys, I can't wait to use them.

Last night Noelle and I went to an Enrichment activity to learn how to give boy haircuts. I learned some good techniques, but John likes his hair too short to use them. Beet was once again spoiled with two little outfits from a lady who can't make it to the shower tomorrow. I think pretty much all we need at this point is clothes. And diapers. And a baby.

Poor Rachel is home stranded today because her car is being fixed. I've talked to her three times, trying to help her find the crockpot, teaching her how to make tortillas, and lamenting the poorness of the tortilla turnout.

[Comments] (2) : Having a fun weekend. Jamie is here and I am going to CHA with her the next two days. Right now we are just relaxing and having a good evening.

Yesterday the ward threw me a little shower. We got lots of cute clothes, including a beautiful sweater knitted by the mom of one of our primary kids. Another lady made us a receiving blanket out of the same fabric as my ducky PJs Mom (Anne) made me (only pink)! And someone embroidered "Princess Chadwick" on some burpcloths. I am really excited to dress Beet in her new church dress and her little green sweater that matches perfectly.

[Comments] (4) : Things have been very busy at work this week so I haven't really had time to update. Monday and Tuesday I spent with Jamie at CHA, checking out all the new scrapbooking goodies and doing free make-and-takes. I didn't make as many things as last year, but maybe I was just more selective, because I like my projects more. Also, Jamie has a friend who works for one of the companies and gave each of us a LOT of freebies - maybe around $150 worth.

I had a lot of fun, I didn't get too tired, and it was nice to get to spend the time with Jamie - I miss seeing her every Sunday!

My three-day work week sped by, and I am sooo ready for the weekend. I only have two more weeks of work left, but I am getting more exhausted by the day. Noelle is throwing me a shower tomorrow, and John and I are planning to go to IKEA to buy a changing table and new bedding (for us).

I had a doctor appointment yesterday (have to start going every week now). The good news is I only gained 2 pounds! The bad news is that I was late because I had to finish Payroll. I have to pay to park in the office's parking lot, so I always look for a spot on the street first. It's a bit of a walk, but it saves me $1.50. Well, as cheap as I am, I also hate being late. Yesterday, I guess I learned what is more important to me, being thrifty, or being on time. What do you think?

: Another fun weekend of getting ready for Beet. We bought some new bedding and a changing table at IKEA. John did an awesome job putting the table together, and arranging our Pooh baskets with things in them. He also took out things we won't be using for a while, so there is room in the closet for me to arrange (play with) her clothes, etc.

Noelle went to Home Depot with me at lunch today. I got a board to make a scrapbooking table with in the other side of the closet. Maybe now I will actually do something creative.

[Comments] (2) 5 Years Ago: It's weird how something that doesn't leave you with something permanent (like a husband) can change your life so much. Mom said I was "grounded" when I got back from Romania. I think I had probably gotten over a lot of things around the time I applied for the program, but I did come home with straightened priorities and a sense of purpose and direction in life. I suppose that's what she meant.

[Comments] (3) Beet's Room: Here is a picture of Beet's crib that John put together, with her cute Winnie-the-Pooh bedding. I should take a picture of her whole cute room, but you're lucky to be getting this much.

[Comments] (5) : A lady at work brought me (Beet) a present this morning. There weren't a lot of people at the coworker shower I had, but people keep bringing me presents at work. This lady was at the shower and is the third person to bring me another present. Are girl things that irresitable? Yesterday in Primary, Matthew was so thrilled to give me a present for the baby (his mom came to the shower). It was so cute to see him all excited about it.

We had a nice pre-Valentine's weekend. John was going to take me to dinner on Saturday, but brought home leftovers from work, so we got Blondies from Applebee's instead. Also went for a walk around the mall to look at shoes for him. If there hadn't been a huge line, I would have redeemed my free 1 pound box of See's John gave me.

Yesterday we had Diana and Josh (and Payton) over for dinner. They are moving to Utah this week. I made lemon-basil pork chops and aspargus with hollandaise and Parkerhouse rolls per Leonard (epitomy of deliciousness, although they took all morning). John and Payton got out piles of toys to be played with. Payton is a great age for most of the toys we have from Tyler.

My last week of work! I barely managed to get out of bed this morning, so I hope it goes by quickly.

Spoiled Susie: I had some beautiful flowers delivered to me at work, with a sweet sweet note. John is very lucky; I think getting flowers every 2 years makes me spoiled.

[Comments] (2) November 22, 1985: Leonard and Mom fly to Hawaii. Leonard beats Mom at Scrabble - twice.

Before you start to think that maybe Mom wasn't exaggerating when she said she hadn't beaten Leonard at Scrabble since he was five, you should know that she proudly wrote about beating him about a year later.

[Comments] (3) Coconut French Toast for 2: Last night I tried a new recipe for John for Valentine's Day and it turned out very yummy!

4 eggs
1/3 c. milk
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. sugar
4 pieces of bread
1/2 c. flaked coconut

Soak bread in mixture for 1 minute each side. Coat both sides in coconut. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 475° for 5 minutes each side.

We ate ours with diced mango, raspberries and whipped topping.

: My last day of work! I was very busy today, but things went well and I got most everything done. I bought a glider for our nursery online today, since I won't have internet for a while. I am excited! We like to go in Beet's room and look at her cute stuff, but there is nowhere to sit.

John has to work this weekend (and every other non-Sunday until the baby is born) so I am planning to rest up and do a little shopping and cleaning. Maybe I will even get started on the freezer-filling I plan to do in the next week or so. I am also working on a little present for Rachel's birthday - utilizing my fancy new scrapbook area (plywood propped up on nightstands in the baby's closet...).

It is weird to me that we have food in the fridge that expires after my baby is due! I hope she doesn't show up too late.

[Comments] (1) : I came to the stripmall library by our house for some internet time. I have been trying to be very productive during my first few days off work, and yes, I have been taking lots of naps. Yesterday I went for a very long walk with a couple other girls in the ward. I also made pretzels for the freezer and pink-frosted sugar cookies for my Valentine. Today I am planning to make Jake cookie balls for the freezer.

I'm having better luck with mom's sewing machine today, so I am cranking out quilt pieces. I gave Noelle a lot of the fabric squares I had. I'm planning to make one more quilt, then get rid of the rest. Since mom's sewing machine is so much easier to use than mine, it is going quickly.

Here is an out-of-context Rachel quote for your enjoyment: "the kitty litter is fake ash. and the poo was the dust bunnies"

[Comments] (1) : My contribution to society (the freezer) for today was a batch of Aunt Jeuney's basil pesto, requested by John. Pesto is good because it doesn't take up very much room, but you can get a lot of easy meals out of it. I neglected to put the cheese in, however, and had to scoop it out of the ice cube tray and back into the blender to fix it. Rachel says to blame the Beet. The freezer is pretty much full, but I am hoping to make 2 more batches of pizza dough and some curry sauce. I used the existing curry in the freezer to make dinner for John tonight.

We got the glider I ordered today. Apparently the delivery guy came while I was taking a nap, because when I woke up there was a giant box on the patio by the kitchen. I am not sure how he got it onto the patio, but as it is now pouring rain, I'm not complaining. I moved the box as far out of the rain as I could, and put a towel over it. That will have to do until John gets home.

I also got a package with awesome presents from Aunt Anne and Kristen. I am so thrilled! I know Leonard disapproves, but Kristen also sent me a pair of Lily's ruffle-butt tights.

Yesterday I sewed all morning and made all the 9-squares for the quilt I am working on. Except, and no one related to Aunt Margaret should ever say this, I don't have enough fabric. I need 19 more little squares. I'll have to take some back from Noelle, or buy a 1/4 yard remnant or something. I should be able to finish this before the baby comes!

I am going visit teaching in half an hour. I should wear real shoes, since it's raining, so I'd better start getting them on.

Actual Pesto Recipe: Here is Aunt Jeuney's actual recipe for pesto:

2 c. fresh basil
1/4-1/2 c. olive oil
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 c. pine nuts
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt

Grate parmesan cheese. Wash basil and trim off large stems. Put minced garlic, salt and pine nuts in food processor. Process a little to break up the nuts. Add basil and lemon juice. Process thoroughly to fine consistency, adding a little of the oil as you go. Add grated cheese and process until well combined. Store pesto in glass jar in the refrigerator, adding a layer of olive oil to the top to keep it from turning dark. Or spoon pesto into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze. When frozen, remove pesto cubes and put in zip-loc freezer bag and store in freezer.

For more information, see my fake recipe, Leonard's Pesto Myths and Facts, or my recipe for Pesto Cream Sauce.

I have previously used spinach instead of basil, and as there was no parmesan cheese to be found in the grocery store, I used Asiago this time. Also, I've never used pine nuts because they are ridiculously expensive; I've always substituted walnuts. I still don't have a food processor, and I've still been making this in the blender and it is still difficult. Yesterday's batch made about 1 cup, or 16 one-tablespoon ice cube servings.

[Comments] (3) : I've already accomplished everything on my list today. I vaccuumed, I made two batches of pizza dough (poor little Rachel begged for some also) and I emailed two months worth of hymns to the program lady and the substitute organist. Now I'm going to make a trip to Jo-Ann's so I can finish my quilt.

John was told to take tomorrow off, so he will be home to keep me and Beet company. For all the planning and preparing one does for a new baby, ir's a bit annoying, really, that she can show up whenever she feels like it. You can only plan so much!

[Comments] (1) Coupon Clipper: John somehow got signed up for a trial subscription to the LA Times. I was annoyed at first because we don't really read it and *the poor trees*. But apparently we also get the Sunday edition, with coupons! I've already saved $3.50 because Vons is doubling coupons right now. Coupons are worth taking extra recycling, especially since there are always diaper coupons.

John stayed home from work this morning, to go to the doctor with me, so I haven't done much else. We went to Target and for a walk and had lunch at McDonald's. I went to the grocery store after he went to work. Now I need a nap, then perhaps I'll get some work done on my quilt. I've pieced everything together, it just needs to be tied and then hand-sewn on two edges.

[Comments] (1) Due Date Eve: I spent the morning sitting in my glider tying my quilt and listening to my iPod. I got about halfway done. I also did a load of laundry, took a bath, and read some of my dad's journal writing. And I painted my toenails. This was quite difficult, but Rachel is not here to do it for me, and it makes me feel better to see pretty pink toes on my fat feet.

We have taken Alyson's advice and planned fun things to do every day for the next week or so. Poor John has to do something fun with me after a long hard day at work. I am going to make a yummy dinner tonight.

: John came home to spend lunch with me today. We went to BoBa Smoothie for our something-to-look-forward-to and went for a little walk.

I also went to the local scrapbook store for the first time today. Maybe I am just spoiled from working with CC but it was very lame. I bought the three pieces of cardstock I went in for.

: The other day I noticed Beet jumping at a loud noise for the first time. I was playing Boggle by myself and I shook up the letter dice right in front of my tummy. Don't go feeling sorry for her - she kept me up all night. First she was wiggling like crazy, then worrying me because she stopped wiggling!

: I took Beet to the hospital for a nonstress test since she is overdue. It took forever - she was moving around the whole time so they couldn't get a resting heartrate. Wild Child, the nurse called her. She is perfectly fine and I have to go back on Monday. I hope to be at the hospital again before that!

John and I went to Corner Bakery for dinner. Our gift card had $15 more than we thought on it. We also went to See's to get his pound of chocolates (we ate mine already). Poor John is tired of working long hard hours and being underappreciated. I'd better go give him a footrub.

[Comments] (1) John's Always Right: I went for a walk to 7-eleven today to buy some Flaming Hot Cheetos. John says, "I don't think that's what they mean by 'spicy food'."

[Comments] (2) Too Healthy: Took Beet to the hospital again today. They didn't even do an ultrasound because her fluid level was so good last time. I didn't have to stay as long this time, and I brought John's Sudoku book, so it wasn't as boring. Luckily, since I didn't get a room with an ocean view. The nurse was more personable and helpful than my doctor has ever been. 5 days after my baby is due is probably a little late to decide I don't like my doctor. She (the nurse) said she was sorry she couldn't send me down to the labor unit. I think an overdue pregnant woman is the only sane person who wishes she were in pain.

On Saturday John and I ran errands and went for a lovely walk at Crystal Cove State Park. We got to look in the tidepools and see little creatures. John bought me the comfiest pants at Costco. They were 1/3 the price of the ugly, less comfy ones at Target.

I finished my quilt today. I also finished the sewing part of the Beet announcements I am making, so now I can put my sewing machine away. This is the first time I've ever used my machine on paper; I'm sure Mom is turning in her grave.

: This afternoon I walked with my friend and her two kids to the farm. The pigs had all just had piglets in the past month, some just born yesterday and so cute! We had a nice long walk. It makes me feel very special that her two-year-old remembers my name. I think sometimes kids remember my name easily because it is so fun to say.

The mailman brought my first disability check. As one girl in the ward said, maternity leave is the best job ever - paid to do "nothing".

[Comments] (6) Good news!!: Baby beet was born this morning at 1:44, weighing 7 lbs 4 onces. Mother & baby are both doing well and the consensus seems to be she is the most adorable baby ever.


[Comments] (2) Home: Our little family is home from the hospital and all settled in.

Margaret Susan was born in the wee hours of March 9th. She is a long skinny thing with lots of dark hair, a good sucking reflex and a great deal of charm.

I ended up being induced a day early because the little one stopped moving around and responding very well. Labor was very slow at first, but picked up quickly and seemed to go by really quickly overall. I only had to push for an hour, including the time I spent not pushing because the doctor wasn't there yet, and she kind of *popped* out, startling everyone. I did get an epidural, which I recommend. I should have gotten it earlier, but I thought I wouldn't be able to feel anything, so I put it off and got other drugs which made me sick.

Rachel has been very helpful (She just walked in with my prescription painkillers, so I have to be nice to her). She was there when Beet was born and stayed two nights at the hospital with me so John could get a few last nights of good sleep. She knows all about labor, childbirth and nursing now, so she will be an expert when she gets to have her own.

John is, as I suspected, the world's cutest daddy. He snuggles his little Maggie, calls her "sweetest", and sings cute little made-up songs to her. It is so precious to see how much he loves his little princess.

: My little baby is already 4 days old! We have survived two nights at home, but she is a very good baby so far. It isn't too hard to feed her, and she only cries when she is hungry or naked. The rest of the time is sleep, sleep, sleep and stare lovingly at her daddy.

Rachel and I both think Maggie looks like her great-grandma Rosalie. She possibly has a little squished Benson big toe.

[Comments] (2) Little Family: It has been really nice to just have the three of us home learning how to be a family. No stress and no pressure with John off work for two weeks. It felt like the whole day was shot yesterday when we went to the pediatrician, so it's nice to do nothing. I am just snuggling here with my little Maggie while her daddy runs errands. The Relief Society President came over last night and I asked if we could have dinners brought. We are both so tired from all the late night snuggles.

As nice as it has been to get to know our new family, we are very excited to have Alyson come help next week and Mom the week after.

Family Resemblance: We got out my baby book last night to see if Maggie looks like baby Susie did. She looks much more like a baby Rachel. Before you think it's her hair, you should know that Rachel had very blonde hair when she was young,

: Alyson made it here safely and has been a lot of good company and help. Rachel just got here also on her way to visit Leonard and Sumana in NYC.

John was so sweet last night and snuck Maggie out of the bedroom in the middle of the night to feed her so I could sleep. What a wonderful husband. He isn't a good napper so he hasn't gotten a lot of sleep lately. Not that I have been taking naps.

John and I got to open all the Amazon packages that have arrived for Alyson over the last few days. The Mollies wanted to give us a gift that Mom would be proud of and they did an excellent job - They gave us a collection of their favorite children's books, to build up a little library for Maggie. We also got some adorable Winnie-the-Pooh bookplates for them. How thoughtful; I'm sure Mom would be happy. She always gave books at baby showers.

Ahh, Freedom: Although I enjoy the longer blocks of sleep we've been getting at night, it seems as though Maggie nurses constantly during the day. She is sleeping now, for at least a little while.

Aly has been waiting on us hand and foot (if you know how she is). Maggie has been sleeping with her, so even though I have to get up and feed her, we've been sleeping better without worrying about baby noises. Not to mention all the delicious and healthy food in our house.

Hmm, I spoke too soon - we are hungry again!!

: John had to go back to work today. Luckily he didn't have to work very late and it's already the weekend. We had Grandma for company today (and to watch Maggie while I took a nice long nap). With John back at work it seems like things have really slowed down, almost normal. Susan will be here until Wednesday, then Rachel will be visiting for a few days. After that I will be on my own!

[Comments] (1) : Susan watched Maggie for us so John and I could go to church. While we were gone she also made my favorite comfort foods - pork au jus sandwiches and Potatoes!

My baby girl is getting chipmunk cheeks. At least we know she is eating well.

Turtle Beet: I love when Maggie stretches out her little neck. I can't see it most of the time so it makes her look like a little turtle.

[Comments] (1) Dr. Pivko Had a Picnic: Where is Dr. Pivko?

Yes. We had a song about our pediatrician. This fact alone made me concerned about finding the right doctor for Maggie. Apparently this is very important to a child, and I didn't want to screw it up (although we are moving in a few months anyway). I ended up picking someone on recommendation of two girls in the ward who didn't even use her. Luckily, she is wonderful. After she checked Maggie in the hospital John said, "she really wants to be our doctor." He didn't realize she was our doctor.

Other pediatric memories - Rachel crying when the rest of us got shots. Little Sympathetic Rachel.

[Comments] (2) Futile: This morning, during the 3 hours I spent trying to get Maggie to go back to sleep so I could take a nap, I made a to do list. The role of to do lists in my life is twofold; First, to help me remember things (I will forget); and second, to make me feel like I've accomplished something. Since I clearly couldn't accomplish anything this morning (more because I was tired than because Maggie was awake), I made do with making a list.

John says not to worry about stuff getting done, but I did a few little things today, including taking and posting pictures of Maggie's baby announcements in my scrapbook gallery. Well maybe that was all I did, my list is in the other room.

When John's alarm went off this morning, I found him snuggling on the couch with a quilt and a baby who was, it turns out, not hungry but cold.

I'm getting very good at typing wirh one hand.

[Comments] (2) Alas, Poor Jelly: Jellybean had to be put to sleep today. She had fluid in her lungs and was having heart failure. This is sad because we love her and because, with Tonks missing, Rachel is all alone and very upset. However, Jelly was very old and now she doesn't have to live in an apartment with a screaming baby.

Mom got Jellybean in June of 1992, so she was just about 15 years old, pretty old for a tiny kitty. The poor thing was just heartbroken when Mom died - I think she took it the worst. Now our little Jealous Queen is resting in the eternal sunbath in the sky.

Update: Tonks the Wanderer has returned.

[Comments] (1) : This weekend, with Maggie 3 weeks old, we managed to successfully introduce the bottle, clip her fingernails, and take her for a walk at the Woodbridge lake. John likes participating more in her feedings, even though it means he gets a turn at night (at least since he took today off work). I thought bottle-feeding when not necessary (ie. I'm at work) would be a waste of time, besides that John likes doing it. But I can pump enough for her feeding in 7 minutes, so that's not so bad.

John also washed some of her 0-3 month clothes so they would shrink enough she could start wearing them. So many clothes, so little time.

[Comments] (1) : Susie: She's looking at me like I'm nuts. John: Babies can be very perceptive.

Yesterday we got a giant package from John's work. They sent a gift basket of baby paraphanelia with the company logo on it, including, as John predicted, and EY onesie. It's actually kind of cute.

The other day Rachel and I were arguing over the pronunciation of a word. Susie: We have a dictionary. We could look it up. Except I don't know how to read those pronunciation marks.
Rachel: Me neither.
Susie: English teacher's daughters' shame.
Turns out it wasn't even a word - Rachel said "Meg Cabot" (an author) and I thought she said "my cabot" (meaning (I thought) her guilty pleasure).

: One of the things I did while waiting for Maggie to arrive was sew little plastic rings onto Mom's duvet and ribbons onto the cover we bought, so the comforter would stay in place. Now I see that Mom had sewn suspender clips onto her cover. I thought maybe the cover came like that. Brilliant. Oh well, my idea works ok.

[Comments] (1) : I've started going for walks with another new mommy in the ward. We went to the Back Bay on Friday and she complained about how little her husband helps with the baby (he doesn't know she feels this way, she says; he thinks he is helpful). She said he will hardly get up with the baby even when she begs, even during the two weeks he took off work. I am so lucky!

John gets up every night for Maggie's second feeding, even though he has to go to work. Half the time he ends up sleeping with her on the couch. Today she didn't wake up until 6:30 and he stayed up with her. I got to sleep until 10:00, when she was hungry again anyway. Also, when I fed her before going to bed and at 2:30, I got her fed and put down in just 1/2 hour. I can handle 1/2 hour.

I love having John home on the weekends. We get to take Maggie for walks together, and I feel like I actually get some things done. Yesterday we even cleaned the house while she slept. Friday was the first day of parenthood that the bed didn't get made - we made it four weeks!

Speaking of what an awesome husband I have, he made a fun Easter hunt for me while I was at Target yesterday. I had fun finding the presents he bought for both of us, and lots of candy. John is good at hiding things - and at picking out fun presents.

[Comments] (2) Clueless: I finished reading Wicked the other day (sometimes Maggie lets me read while she is nursing). I thought it was a pretty interesting book, although I never would have slated it for making a musical. This would be a great opportunity to state that I don't think about books when I read them. I know this book is packed with political and social undertones, and I'm sure I didn't even pick up the obvious ones. I'm not sure if this is because I am lazy, or because I just want to be reading for entertainment - probably both - but this is the case with every book I read, and also with movies.

John is very good at picking out the undertones and hidden (or not-so-hidden) agendas in books and movies. I remember watching Forrest Gump with him one time; afterwards he started talking about the portrayal of "our time" and I said, "what?"

I do enjoy discussing these things, I just don't want to think about it! Someone else can point them out, then we can chat.

Salade du Jour: Inspired by Alyson and motivated by a large amount of semi-free time and John liking when I try new recipes, I made a fancy grocery list and planned some meals yesterday. When John got home from work, I went to the store and spent lots of money. I really didn't plan very many things, but it will be better than nothing.

I made myself a salad ahead of time for lunch today. Shake 1/2 diced green apple with 2 T. ranch dressing. Add 2 c. spinach on top, 1/4 c. cubed cheddar cheese, and 1/4 c. chopped walnuts. I had a recipe, but the apples mixed with the dressing was the only part I followed. All the other ingredients were either too expensive or I couldn't find them at the different store I went to. Anyway, it was yummy my way, and you could add whatever you wanted, and the dressing keeping the apples fresh and the apples keeping the dressing from getting the salad soggy is the key to the recipe anyway. The recipe has variations that include using tomato wedges in place of the apple, if you don't like fruit in your salads.

Sneaky Paws 2: I took Maggie for a walk to the park across the street just now. I hadn't taken Maggie across the street before because there's no crosswalk/light, but both times I got to the street there were no cars at all, so I crossed. I thought I could hold her on the swings, but this park is rather lame and has no swings. Anyway, two families were there playing on the playground and with their dogs. When I walked through the park on the way home, one of the dogs started following me. He thought he was being stealthy: every time I turned around he would stop. He even hid behind a tree!

Also, when I was changing her diaper, Maggie managed to grab a handful of her hair. I couldn't believe she wasn't screaming as I tried to get her to let go. I think her hair is coming in much lighter.

Non-Casserole: For dinner last night I made a casserole recipe I've had forever but never tried. I hardly ever make casseroles because John doesn't care for them. This was no exception. However, in my mind it has the strong advantage of being made entirely from scratch. I even used fresh steamed broccoli instead of the frozen. Oh yeah, the actual recipe is called Chicken Rice Divan Bake.

1 pkg. frozen broccoli
1 c. grated cheddar
2 c. cooked cubed chicken
1 c. cooked rice
2 T. butter 
2 T. flour
1 c. milk
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. sour cream

Put cooked broccoli in 13x9 pan. Top with chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon rice over top.

Melt butter over low heat, blend in flour and add milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and sour cream. Spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400 and& for 15-20 minutes.

$3.33/gallon: I bought gas last Saturday for the first time in 6 weeks for $3.25/gallon; the last time I filled up I paid $2.65. Yikes.

[Comments] (4) Smiley Face: This weekend Maggie started making real smiles and is so adorable. I can usually get her to do it by poking her nose. She also has been making lots of little "aah"s. She loves to do it while propelling herself across her tummy time mat. Right now she is lying on my lap and we are making faces at each other.

[Comments] (2) Burrito Filling: The last two nights, instead of kicking the covers off, Beet has been scooting herself out of her cocoon, leaving behind a little burrito shell. It is cold so I'm hoping she just does it in her waking moments before we hear her.

She is getting immunizations today. I hope my heart can take it. John wanted me to go to work for him, but I reminded him of what my job entails today. He said he would take her to get ice cream instead. So he is at work. Poor Beet - and no little sister to cry for her!

Little Black Rain Cloud: Today it is rainy like it hasn't been in months. At least since I stopped working, because I barely recognize this desire to snuggle up with a book and some soup. Or a baby.

Knock Knock: Alyson's comment about Atticus making up his own jokes made me think of some jokes the kids were making up in the car at Christmas. They like to copy jokes John makes and just change the words (they do this with the stories he tells also).

Ember: Three muffins were in an oven. The first muffin said, "It's hot in here!" The second muffin said, "Ah! a talking muffin!" The third muffin said, "We all can talk!"

Tyler's version went something like this: Two poops were sitting on a poop. The first one said, "poop!" The second one said, "poopy!" and the third one said, "poopety poop poop poop!"

Meatloaf Muffins:

1 lb. ground beef
1 package Stove Top
1 c. water
mozzarella cheese

Mix meat, stuffing mix and water until well blended. Press evenly into 12 medium muffin cups; make an indentation in the center of each. Squirt ketchup (about 1 T) into each indentation. Bake 30 minutes at 375, or until meatloaves are cooked through. Sprinkle each with cheese and continue baking 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

You could do this with any meatloaf recipe, I think, and cut your baking time in half. Not only is it faster, it makes nice individually portioned leftovers for lunches, or to freeze and reheat easily. John thought I had made him coconut cupcakes when he saw these, with the melted cheese on top - this is why I made coconut cupcakes today.

Mashed Cauliflower: John raved about some mashed “potatoes” he had while living with Jamie, so I finally tried it. I think what John had was cooked cauliflower, mashed, so this version was very different. I don’t think John liked it very much – he said it was dry – but I did.

1 lb. potatoes, cut into chunks
1 c. bite-sized cauliflower florets
¼ c. sour cream
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes and cauliflower until tender. Mash with sour cream; sprinkle with cheese.

[Comments] (1) Coconut Cupcakes:

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
3 eggs
3/4 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 t. pure almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a little vinegar)
1 7-ounce package flaked sweetened coconut
cream cheese icing

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in only 1 1/3 cups of the coconut.

Fill each muffin cup almost full with batter. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes or until the cupcake tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. When cool, frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle remaining coconut on top.

We both really liked these. Other than having to make frosting it wasn't anymore difficult that using a cake mix, and much more yummy. I didn't have any cream cheese so I made buttercream frosting. I also didn't have any almond extract. I will definitely be making these again!

[Comments] (2) She is Out of Mascara:
Susie:I almost called you today because you went to get cheetos two days ago and never came back. noone had seen an eyelash of you since.
Rachel: who would have seen my eyelash? tonks?
Rachel (later): I posted an eyelash

Where's the Beef Dinner: Here is a recipe I made ages ago. It wasn't outstanding, but pretty good and I generally have all these ingredients, so I will probably make it again when I am wondering what to make for dinner.

1/2 lb. beef
2 cloves garlic

Add and bring to a boil:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 c. water

Add and simmer 15 minutes:
2 c. bowtie pasta
1 med zucchini (I used green beans)

Stir in:
1 can tomato paste
1/4 t. italian seasoning
1 c. cheese

[Comments] (1) : My baby is watching Playhouse Disney. Luckily her Daddy read The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV to her today.

Brag: John brought me tulips!

[Comments] (5) Potsticker Success: I made up a potsticker recipe by browsing some on the internet and picking out my favorite ingredients.

1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic
1/3 head cabbage
1 medium carrot
2 green onions
½ red bell pepper
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. Soy sauce
Black pepper
1 t. ginger
1 package wonton wrappers

Cook pork. Finely shred all the vegetables. I used the cheese grater, except for the green onions. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put about 1 Tablespoon on the wrapper. Wet two edges of the wrapper and fold into a triangle and seal.

Heat 1 T. oil in skillet. Arrange potstickers in the pan. Once the bottom is brown, add 1/3 c. water and cover. When the water is gone, let the potstickers brown a bit more and remove from pan.

I think this is going to make about 75 potstickers. They can be frozen before cooking on a sheet and then put into a ziploc.

How good are these? John wanted In-and-Out for dinner and since trying these changed his mind. Yup, he just wants more potstickers.

[Comments] (2) Outing: I took Maggie to work this morning. She was at her most charming, beautiful best and soaked up all the attention. She was alert, hardly cried at all and beamed adorable smiles at those brave enough to emit babytalk in the workplace. She didn't even spit up, probably because I was prepared and put a bib over her little dress.

I also met with the new HR director, who seems wonderful (and from what I hear, people actually like her).

: Maggie is starting to sort of get into a routine. She generally eats every two hours during the day, which is at least something I can plan around. It also makes it easier for me to tell when she is hungry. She is starting to go a lot longer before her first night feeding. Last night, for example, she fell asleep around 7, I fed her at 9:30 before I went to bed, and she slept until 5:00. I guess that really makes just one night feeding, at least sometimes.

It is a lot easier to be a mommy when I know what to expect during the day. I'm glad she has settled into a little routine.

: Rachel is here working on her thesis. I am taking care of her, by slave driving and food providing.

[Comments] (1) : Poor John is very sick. He hasn't been sick in ages. He slept most of the day yesterday, but made it to work today. He has to get a lot done because of all the exciting things coming up!

We are leaving for Utah on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. We're very excited to see our family and for Maggie to meet everyone. Then, for Memorial Day, Leonard is coming out. Hurray, another Uncle Leonard! We are going to Bakersfield for a nice BBQ with the Richardsons and to show Maggie off to 2nd ward. And just one week after that is the Disneyland party with John's work.

As if that isn't enough excitement, I am going back to work the week after that and John gets to stay home with Princess Snugglebutt. He can't wait.

[Comments] (2) Packing for 3: I got everything ready for our trip to Utah last night, and it is hard to pack for a baby. I got the obvious stuff, clothes and diapers, packed and then kept thinking of tons of things we needed to bring... blankets, bibs, socks, a hat, so many little things that I'm used to being able to just grab. Since there are no other babies in the family, there won't be baby things around if we forget something. We are leaving late tonight and are so excited to see everyone.

I go walking with a friend from the ward and her baby most mornings. It is hot so we've been going to the mall. Today we got See's Candies samples. Also, I gave her all my formula checks and her husband sold them on ebay and gave me the money.

Rachel called me from her first substitute teaching job. Middle School. 12 year olds. Rough life.

[Comments] (1) Bottom's Up: Here is one of the songs I made up to sing to Maggie while I am changing her. To the tune of Particle Man.

Nakey bum, nakey bum
Nakey bum meets diaper bum
They have a fight; diaper wins
Diaper bum

: John and I drove to Utah all night Wednesday night. Bleh. Maggie slept great but John and I less so and we are still recovering. We stopped to suprise Grandma June and she was thrilled. She loved her new little great-grandaughter and didn't want to put her down. Also on the list of those who love Maggie is her grandpa. He held her for 2 hours yesterday, while she alternately slept and laughed at his silly faces. Not on the list is Tyler who is a bit jealous of the lessening of Uncle John's attentions. But even he says, "Baby Maggie is so cute!"

Pretty much everyone around here is feeling awful. John is still recovering from his cold and driving all night. I have an infection with flu-like symptoms. Dad, Jamie and Nathan are moaning about their stomachs, and Tyler, James and Hannah have all been throwing up. We haven't even all been together! We greatly reduced the number of events we're dragging Maggie too, so I think that should help.

[Comments] (1) Happy Mother's Day to Me: This morning while John was holding Maggie and waiting for her bottle to warm up, I went over and looked at her and she burst into a big spontaneous smile just for me! *warm fuzzies*

: We're packing up and getting ready to head home, with a stop at Grandma June's for lunch with Mom and Jamie. Things have been a lot more fun since we stopped taking Beet anywhere. Saturday was her blessing day. She was so darling in the little dress and booties her Aunt Jamie bought her. Everyone was able to make it except Ashley, who was working, and Brook missed the first minute because he was on the phone about a fire. Jon, Sharon, Brynn, Kristan and Sarah were there also. I wish we'd been able to see more of them, but we didn't want to wear Maggie out.

Yesterday we basically spent sitting around talking with Jodi and Franco. We took Maggie for a walk to see their new apartment. Ashley got very sick yesterday, so our family picture was canceled, which meant we went to the Mother's Day hoopla at Grandma June's. When we got back Maggie slept for a couple hours in the arms of her adoring Grandpa, and then for another 8 hours before I woke her up this morning to feed her. She must be sleeping so much out of exhaustion. Let's hope it continues for the remainder of the roadtripping.

: As nice as it is to be home, it is twice as nice to be home after having traveled with a baby. She was a good girl though. We figure she cried for about 1/2 hour total. Baby Girl!

[Comments] (2) : Maggie and I went to the farmer's market at the fairgrounds today. We walked over with a friend in the ward and her kids. I bought some aspargus and artichokes. John got home around 3:30 and worked from home, so we took a nice walk around the neighborhood. For dinner I made a big batch of yummy balls and put half in the freezer. We are catching up on Lost.

[Comments] (1) : Sometimes I can't help but think that Maggie is the most darling girl ever. Like this morning when her cute Daddy was giving her a bottle. She wore a cute dress from Kristen to church yesterday. I wish she didn't have so many cute clothes to choose from. I put a dress on her today (and rufflebutt tights) since I am taking her to the doctor. Now that I'm getting comfortable taking her out getting her dressed up cute won't be such a waste.

[Comments] (2) Book Review: This last week I finished reading some books from Rachel. First, Son of a Witch, a sequel to Wicked. I thought it was a lot better than Wicked. Wicked just provides backstory and another viewpoint to The Wizard of Oz which somewhat limits the plot. I thought Son of a Witch had great character development and the ending was very creative and not too happy-happy, but he accomplished something, which the Wicked Witch of the West had never been able to do.

I also read Falling Angels which is by the same author as Girl with a Pearl Earring, which I have not read, and Lady and the Unicorn which I have. The novels were very similar, which was a little disappointing. I did think this one was an improvement though. It was more interesting and had a little more purpose in the plot.

Now I've started reading Suite Francaise which looks boring and has no cover, so I have no idea what it's about.

Check-Up: Maggie is growing up! Literally. She is still at 50%s for her weight, but shot up to 90 for her height. Tall and skinny, now where did she get that from. Next month she gets 4 more shots and guess who gets to take her? Not me!

[Comments] (2) Uncle Leonard X2: Leonard is coming to meet the Beet on Thursday and we are headed to Bakersfield to spend time with Rachel and for a Richardson shindig. Rachel, Maggie and I are also going to a baby shower for Jennifer (Nations). I bought her the cutest little boy outfit today. I spent an hour at Target picking out stuff.

Youngest Child: Susie: Girls are so drama and spoiled!
Rachel: Not because I'm the youngest!

[Comments] (3) Home Sweet Home: Back from Bakersfield. I think Maggie is almost as glad to be home as I am. It is exhausting enough running everything around a baby's routine when you're at home. Also, she was stuck with kitty hairs. (Rachel has a cute little kitten she is trying to find a home for!) We are not planning to take her anywhere at least until we move.

That aside, we had a fun time. Rachel and I went to a baby shower, and we had a fun party at Garry's on Sunday with Pat, Alan, Shannon, Shaun, Joel, Leah and Eric. Maggie was, of course, adorable and soaked up all the attention. She got some new books and a little outfit and a pair of Robeez shoes (as if Shannon and Pat hadn't spoiled us enough with the lovely shower!) She loved watching Joel and Leah run around, and she is apparently a Nascar fan (Richardson genes!)

We stopped at the Arvin cemetery on the way out of town today. Maggie was a fuss on the way there, and for another 10 minutes of the drive, but once she fell asleep it was smooth sailing, and we didn't even hit any traffic.

[Comments] (2) We Just Can't Help Ourselves: Well. Once again we are Disney Annual Passholders. Maggie was so good at Disneyland today and seemed to enjoy it, so we upgraded our free tickets to the cheapest annual passes.

Maggie is such an adorable baby that strangers are always wanting to say hi to her. Besides all the normal people who came up to her today, she had three special people say hi: Mary Poppins, Pinocchio, and Doc all came up to her (the last two during the parade). That's how cute she is! She also got her picture taken with Daisy Duck ("Susanna Duck!") at the EY party.

We took Maggie on a bunch of kids rides and on Pirates. She didn't enjoy the drop of water that splashed on her on the Jungle Cruise, so when we got put in the front of the boat on Pirates, I had the brilliant idea to put a blanket over her and she didn't get wet and was fine.

[Comments] (3) : John is at a training in LA for the next couple days so Maggie and I went up and stayed in the hotel with him last night. I think we were the only people trying to leave downtown LA at 9 AM. Then, since it was on the way home, Maggie and I went to Disneyland for a couple hours. That girl loves "it's a small world". Now we are home. The End.

[Comments] (2) Nursing Degree: Despite 6-8 weeks of pain (worse than childbirth), a thrush infection and mastitis, I really like breastfeeding. Here's why.

It's free. It's easier and less hassle than bottle-feeding. You don't need to carry extra stuff when you go out. It's free snuggles. You hardly have to wake up to do it in the middle of the night. It makes me feel really good to know that I am providing all the nourishment my baby needs for free.

By the way, I didn't know I was so committed to breasfeeding until I stuck with it through the pain. I am a wimp.

Maggie Learns to Squeal: Yikes.

: John bought me baklava at the farmer's market. Yum.

[Comments] (2) : Maggie rolled over onto her tummy last night. I was reading Corderoy to her and she rolled right over. Not so helpless anymore. I guess no more unattended naps on the bed or leaving her on the changing table. Happy Father's Day!

: Well, I am almost officially a stay-at-home Mom (or SAHM, as "they" rather annoyingly put it). My last day of work is July 6th. We tried to work out something where I could work part time, and I was even offered more money to stay - that sure made me feel good! At first I was very sad, because I love my job and working part time would be very nice. But John figured out I'd be taking home $100/week. Now I am excited to stay home with the beet.

We had a busy day today. We went to Costco and the grocery store. Then we went to Toys R Us, organ practice, and the recycling center. Then we went to Starbucks and bought Maggie a little hat at Old Navy.

Maggie's sleeping habits have been changing a little. She has been taking more naps in her crib. Also she wants to play at night when John tries to put her down, so we've been putting her in her crib awake too. Good for her, I hope.

[Comments] (1) Chocolate-Frosted Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars: Lately I have become obsessed with these. Yum.

1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice krispies
1 c. chocolate chips

Cook sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan until dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Stir in rice krispies. Press into a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper. Melt chocolate chips and spread on top.

Variations: I learned from Leonard that marshmallows are really just sugar and corn syrup. So when you run out of corn syrup, just use 3 c. mini marshmallows and 2 T butter instead of the corn syrup and sugar. Also, you could mix some butterscotch chips in the topping as well.

: Bleh. I have a sore throat. And "But I just had one two weeks ago!" does not make it feel better.

On the brighter side, I am going after work to pick up my new glasses. And for the first time ever I'm getting prescription sunglasses. I was thinking about it, and the doctor recommended it because I have astygmatism, so I ordered them.

We went to Disneyland last night with our friends and their baby. We switched off with the babies and got to ride some actual rides. John and I also went on California Screamin' using single rider passes. Our passes are blocked out for the next six weeks.

Only six more days of work! I miss my little beet.

[Comments] (2) : Today we took Maggie to Exposition Park in LA. We went to the Natural History Museum, where I took 10 pictures of the preserved MegaMouth shark for Leonard. The Dinosaur hall was closed, which was disappointing, but we still got to see the mammal halls, the mineral and gem exhibit and an exhibit on Night at the Museum. Afterwards we walked past the rose garden and went to the California Science Museum. Since we'd already paid $25 in parking and admission, I didn't feel bad walking by the "donation" box. The only exhibit that looked familiar was the eggs and baby chicks, but they had a lot of cool exhibits on the body, energy, transportation etc. Both museums also had pretty neat Discovery Centers for the kids.

Also, I wanted to mention all the cute parents, and especially cute daddies (including Maggie's!) who had taken their kids to the museum to teach them about dinosaurs and animals. It reminded me of my cute parents who took their kids to the museum to teach them about dinosaurs and animals. Go parents!

: I think Maggie has caught my cold. She kept waking up all night last night. Right now she has some sniffles and a little dry cough, and despite being asleep and very exhausted, has woken up 3 times since we put her to bed. Could be a long night.

We went to dinner with a bunch of other "young couples" at some ward members' tonight. Somehow we kind of ended up sitting by ourselves, and then John spent 45 minutes inside with Maggie asleep on him, but it was still nice to get out and talk with some people. I got to talk to a couple newer girls in the ward. Also, Maggie got stolen and hogged - by a guy!

: I sold my car today. Mom and I got it almost ten years ago. It's lasted ten years, 103,000 miles and been all over the Western States. It was a good little car. I think I may miss it.

[Comments] (1) Car Talk: I washed and vacuumed the Pathfinder the other day, but (despite having left the door open all night) hadn't driven it since. It was a nice surprise getting into a clean car this morning! Also, we had a cracked axle fixed. We spent about half the money I got from selling the Saturn, but it drives sooo much better now! I thought the Pathfinder just had terrible shocks and was trying to shake me off the road. Good thing a tire didn't come flying off while I (or Rachel, or even Mom) was driving.

[Comments] (1) : Maggie was very good for my first day officially home with her. Thanks to John, time, and her growing up, she now goes down for naps in her crib. This makes it a lot easier to get things done during the day. I've started typing up mom's journal. As she would say, "What a job!"

What We Did Today: Play. Nap. Walk with Jen and Conner. Target. Boba for John. Had lunch with John at work. Nap. Play. Sat by the pool watching some kids swim. Walk. Nap. Made dinner. John came home, ate, did the dishes, and is now on baby duty while I work on typing up mom's journal.

I made Southwestern Chicken Salad for dinner. I will post the dressing recipe later. It was yummy.

[Comments] (1) Lime Vinagrette: This is a recipe Alyson made when she came to help after Maggie was born. I made about half and it was a good amount.

 3/4 c. chopped tomator
3/4 c. cilantro
6 T. oil
3 T. cider vinegar (I used white)
1 T. lime zest
2 T. lime juice
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t, cumin
3/4 t. chili powder
3/4 t. pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled.

Mix in blender. I used it to marinate the chicken, which I grilled on the George Foreman, then as a dressing for the salad (greens, corn, black beans, tomato, green onion, lime juice.)

This Is Me Being Political: I don't think the recycling guys take me seriously. The last time I asked for a receipt the guy ignored me and I finally just left. Yes, I really do want my 50 cents back! Maybe I will have to start saving up items with redemption values. It builds up a lot quicker when the neighbors toss beer cans onto our patio.

I didn't realize I had a "cause" until we were playing one of those games ("If Susie were a cause she would be...") and everyone said recycling. So, I (apparently) have a cause and it's recycling. Recycle: Save a Plastic Tree.

: Yesterday Jen and I took our babies to the free family movie and saw Flushed Away. There were quite a few babies there besides all the kids, but of course it seemed like Conner and Maggie were the only ones who cried. Maggie watched about 1/2 hour of the movie, then fell asleep nursing.

Continuing my search of free/cheap things to do, I went the Newport Beach library (separate and better than OCPL) and discovered they have a Books and Babies class, so I am going to take Maggie next week. Then I walked over to Sur La Table (fancy place for a library, eh?) and bought a knife cover for the fancy knife John bought me for Mother's Day.

Since it was 7-11, 7-Eleven offered free Slurpees so John and I walked down when we got home from work. Guess what? the power was out! We had a cup of melted Slurpee instead. Later, I realized that there is another 7-Eleven a few blocks away we could have gone to. Oh well.

There was a lady from the ward with her three kids at the movie. I should ask her what other free things she knows about. She is a homeschooler and bet she knows them all.

[Comments] (3) : Maggie and I spent the morning at the beach with some people from church. I sat down on a blanket and sat Maggie between my legs.

Girl: How old is she? Me: 4 months. Girl: Wow, four months and she can already sit on her own! Me: Oh, she can't quite - hey, she's sitting on her own!

And so she was. Look, she's doing it right now! I can hardly believe it.

: Maggie and I dropped John off at the airport this morning and now we are all alone. It has not been going well. We both had trouble getting back to sleep (because of her). We made it to the library just in time for the baby story time. It was fun, except that she fell over and bonked her head on the floor and screamed. Afterwards, we went to Fashion Island (I got lost) and walked around, looking in the expensive baby stores. $65 for an infant swimsuit??? Oh yeah, and it sprinkled.

She's napping now. We have big plans for a Target run and to go to the grocery store this afternoon. Since she can sit up I might try putting her in the cart. I'll need to get out my cart-cover-upper.

Update: Maggie did not like the shopping cart. And I have changed 3 dirty diaper s today, two in the car! She was really good at the grocery store, though, and we are having fun.

: Maggie and I just got back from the Santa Ana Zoo. It was quite an effort, but I managed to make our trip last 2 1/2 hours. We visited all the animals twice and each of us had a snack. This zoo had a lot of monkeys, some llamas, an emu and various little critters. The best part was actually the farm because we could get close enough to the animals that I felt Maggie was actually looking at them. They had a "giant" rabbit which was actually very big (large cat sized), pigs, sheep, goats and a parrot that said "cock-a-doodle-doo" (I swear! It certainly wasn't the owl in the cage).

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that the "elephant pavilion" on the map did not house an elephant. In fact, it didn't house an elephant house. It looked like a place where you could ride an elephant, but I don't where they would have gotten or kept an elephant to ride on.

Anyway, the zoo was $6, which was a bargain considering you have to pay $5 to park at the park around here and it was shadier than the park.

: The other day after I took Maggie to the fair John asked her, "Did you have a deep-fried Twinkie? Or did they just deep fry your binky?"

Today Maggie and I went to see Curious George with Elizabeth (from our Primary class). It was a really cute movie. We also went to the mall where the eye doctor convinced me that it's normal for my eyes to hurt when I look at Maggie up close, that he can't do anything about it and that it's not irrational to want to hit people who hold things close to my face.

Also I talked to Mom for over 1 hour. Next time I have nothing to do...

[Comments] (1) :
John: That explains why it wasn't as hot as I remembered it being in DC.
Susie: Because I bought Miracle Whip?
John: Mmm-hmm. Hell was freezing over.

[Comments] (2) : We have not yet received our copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and are consequently avoiding the internet. (Book is now free, thanks a lot Amazon, but would rather have read some this weekend.)

Maggie is still asleep. We must have worn her out this weekend. We celebrated John's birthday simply. We took two nice walks, he got to take a bath, and I made Taco Soup and Eclair Cake.

Maggie was a bit of a brat at church. Last week was a disaster with her and 7 kids, so I tried to send her to Relief Society but she screamed. She screamed when I took her back too. And fussed all during Primary. Luckily John had a very engaging lesson for the kids - they didn't even notice we didn't give them treats.

[Comments] (1) : I took a break from typing Mom's journals to read Harry Potter. I didn't type from Monday morning until Tuesday night... and I missed her! Aside from reading about all the cute things us kids did and said, I am learning fun things to do with my kids and getting motivation for things like housecleaning and sewing. Now and again I rip out a page about someone to send to them, so keep your eyes peeled.

Also I noticed how our parents are doing all kinds of fix-its to sell their house in LA. "The place hasn't looked this good in a long time," she says. We did the same thing after mom died. I hope that I will break this cycle and do fix-its when I am living in my house to enjoy them. I remember thinking how lovely mom's cupboards looked after I had scrubbed them and too bad we hadn't done it for us (partially Gretel's fault).

[Comments] (2) : I took Maggie and a Boba to surprise John at work. One of his surprises fell asleep on the way.

[Comments] (1) Target Rant: I love Target but I am so annoyed at their return policy right now. Yesterday I tried to return something that I had a receipt for, had paid for on my credit card, and was listed as a received item on Maggie's registry and they wouldn't take it back because it had been more than 90 days.

Then they tried to get me to return it on my ID and I said no. They don't even tell you that you can only return two things on your ID per year, and do you really want one of those to be this little thing? Boo.

Rice Cereal Surprise: Yesterday Maggie had a doctor's appointment. The doctor said we can start her on solids anytime. I bought a box of rice cereal at Target (for 50 cents). I think we will wait awhile though. I am thinking of waiting until after our trip to Utah.

I don't really get what the big deal is about feeding her cereal. Both our book and the doctor talked about taking pictures and video taping! Video taping her not eating?

I am realizing the truth of my family never been this easy to feed again. Also, not looking forward to stinkier diapers. Having a baby is complicated enough and she is already growing up too fast. I think we'll wait a bit.

Maggie weighed in at 14 lbs 6 oz, two ounces shy of doubling her birth weight. She'll make it there by 5 months.

[Comments] (2) In Honor of Our 4th Anniversary: Let's talk about how great my husband is.

1. The very most wonderful thing about him (right now) is that he gets up with Maggie in the morning so that I can sleep in. She woke up so early today that she fell asleep again at 8:45.
2. He works super hard at his often frustrating and unappreciative job.
3. He is the world's most awesomest daddy.
4. He plans lots of fun outings for us.
5. He's put up with me for 4 years.
6. He's really cute!

We went to the fair last night with free tickets someone gave us (fairground neighbors get 20 free tickets for the noise, traffic and general bother.) We still had to pay to park, and we also bought corndogs and a funnel cake. We were there less than two hours. Maggie enjoyed the nice walk around and people watching and we enjoyed looking at the fine art. We are going out later this week for our anniversary sans Maggie as well.

Fondue for Two: Last night John and I celebrated our anniversary at The Melting Pot. Maggie got babysat by a couple in the ward with two little boys and had the best time.

We enjoyed our yummy fondue meal, but it was very expensive and now that we've done it I don't think we'll go back. We especially enjoyed the dessert fondue. The waiter told us how to make the cookie and/or graham cracker crumb covered marshmallows (just dip the marshmallows in water), so now we can just do that at home. We were thinking what a fun FHE activity that would be to do with young kids.

Ha Ha: Yesterday I was feeding Maggie and a cat walked in. How did a cat get into my apartment, you ask? Well, duh, it walked in the front door.

Also, apparently we didn't get three free fair tickets, we got two tickets and a parking pass. I could barely tell it was a parking pass even after the guy told me I gave it to a guy waiting to park, walked back to my car a few blocks away and went home.

[Comments] (1) Slurp: Little Maggie drank from a cup at lunch today. I've given her water from a cup a few times at home, just a little sip at a time. We were having lunch with some of my former coworkers and she drank drank drank from a cup of water without spilling any. Such a big girl!

: I called the police on a domestic disturbance last night. I thought it took the operator a long time to answer the phone.

[Comments] (1) Movie Review from a 7 year old: The other day I took Maggie and Elizabeth to see Happy Feet. I missed the last ten minutes because I couldn't find anywhere to change Maggie. (Can you believe that? I finally just did it on the floor in the hallway, and that's what I've done at that theatre since.) When I left, the penguin was dancing in the zoo and when I came back he was walking back into his community in the Arctic, The End. What the? So I asked Elizabeth what I missed.

"A guy was dancing and he fell. It was so funny!" Okay... Still not sure on the ending.

Last Week: I went to a movie and Chuck E. Cheese with a bunch of kids from Primary (and parents). Maggie and I went to the OC Zoo and Irvine Park. This zoo was only $2, but we had to pay $3 to park. The park was very lovely and between the two times we went through the zoo we got great views of a black bear, llama, raccoon, beaver, and mountain lion.

Also, I bought Maggie a little ruffle-butt swimsuit/diaper and we have been taking her swimming. She loves it! She will hold her head up and kick kick when her Daddy holds her on her tummy.

[Comments] (2) Maggie Pan's Flight: John thoughtfully bought me a ticket to bring Maggie to Utah during his busy time (and before our Disneyland passes are good again) so yesterday was Maggie's first airplane ride. She was really good. I was lucky enough to sit in the aisle seat on the first row next to two young girls who loved her. She napped the first 45 minutes, then played, then cried for about the last 20 minutes. Not bad. I even made it out to Grandma's car with the carseat, suitcase etc.

Last night the whole family came over for pizza (minus Brook who is out on a fire). Maggie got hogged. She found her Uncle Nathan quite intriguing, perhaps because he sounds a bit like her daddy! When I put her to bed I grabbed Boggle from the game closet and Jamie, Ashley, Erin and I played. Ashley beat me by 1 point; a good game!

Today I am taking Maggie to visit Tasha, a friend from BYU who has a little girl a bit younger. We are headed up to the BRAND NEW! cabin tonight with Tyler and Ember; Jamie's coming up later with the older boys and Erin will come up tomorrow.

Cabin Fever: We spent today up at the new cabin. It is wonderful! It is nicer than the house. I got my game fix for a while. We played Boggle, pool, Dance Dance Revolution, Pounce, and MadGab. Erin, Ember, Maggie and I went for a walk. Tyler and Jamie came too, but Tyler threw a fit and got taken back.

Maggie has been so good. She took her naps very well, even at the cabin with pool and video games going on. She's loved all the attention from her cousins and aunts.

Well, I'm Back: Maggie and I got home from Utah yesterday. One of John's mission companions is visiting. Last night we went out to an Indian restaurant. It turned out to be a bit fancier of a restaurant than we thought, but I managed to get Maggie to sleep (behave). We had a plan for the boys to go to Sunday School and me to go to Relief Society, but she didn't like Relief Society and I spent the time in the hallway anyway. After church we went for a walk on the beach. John is taking tomorrow off work and we are going to Disneyland.

I got to look at a few houses while I was in Utah, just to see some different areas and see what we can get in our price range. I am pretty happy with what I found.

: We started Maggie eating rice cereal yesterday. She loves it, but it is a bit slow for her rumbly tumbly. She's been ready for solids for a while, sitting up so early, opening her mouth wide and grabbing our food when we eat. Such a big girl. John also got out the bag of 6-9 month hand-me-downs since she'd grown out of half of her sleepers. There is a dinosaur sleeper from Tyler that is So Cute. I didn't want to take it off of her this morning.

We also think Maggie may have rolled onto her back last night, but neither of us saw her do it and she won't do it again.

: This afternoon I took Maggie for a walk on the beach. I waded alongside the ocean and got splashed. John came home early, but Maggie is asleep so we haven't done anything fun yet.

I've had to wash three of Maggie's onesies in the past 24 hours. She somehow managed to get poo all over the carpet and keep her white pants perfectly clean. Twice.

[Comments] (1) Slow Poke: Maggie has finally learned how to roll onto her back. No more of this "I'm on my tummy and I can't get off!" business. I've been bragging all I want about Maggie since I could say, "Oh, but she can't even roll onto her back yet." and make people feel better, but I guess I can't do that anymore. She is being a very good eater; she gulps down all the rice cereal her daddy will give her.

We went to the farm today. A couple of bulls mooed loudly in her face and she started crying. That's really the first time she's been scared of something (other than this one lady at church....)

You Are So Beautiful: Having a baby is such a great conversation starter. People are always come up to us to talk to or about Maggie. We went to breakfast this morning and a lady came clear across the restaurant to see her. I think we had about 6 people come up to us at the farmer's market this week, and she is always making friends at Disneyland. So popular!

[Comments] (1) Crafty Mom: I have been scrapbooking a lot lately, during Maggie's naps and while she plays sweetly on the floor next to me. You can see the finished product in my scrapbooking gallery on the Coordinates Collections website (That's Jamie's website where I help run contests, etc on the Message Board; links at the top of my page).

Also, here is a dress I made for Maggie. This is the first real item of clothing I've made, and also the first new thing I've tried without Mom to call for advice. The plus side of not having Mom means that I do have her sewing machine, which makes life much easier. We went to the fabric store last Saturday so John could pick out the fabric I make the next dress out of. Maggie is going to be so cutely outfitted... when she grows into them. All the cute patterns were toddler-sized!

[Comments] (1) By the Mark: Last night we went to Disneyland. There weren't a lot of people there. We got to see the abbreviated parade, went on a few rides and had a funnel cake. We went on the Mark Twain riverboat. John tells me (and wikipedia agrees) that the pen name of Mark Twain came from the riverboatman's cry, declaring a safe water depth. This made me feel better about the recording on the boat singing "mark twain". I thought it was some kind of tacky joke.

The first Tuesday of the month is free at the LA County Museum of Natural History, so I drove up and took Maggie today. I don't think I'll go next month. I still had to pay to park and the Dinosaur Hall is still under construction and Maggie wasn't too interested in things. It was nice to be out of the house in an air conditioned building though. They kicked me outside to eat my lunch, since I brought PB&J from home, but I found a nice shady place to sit on the North (cool) side and Maggie made friends with a little boy. Now she is finishing the nap she started in the car.

Big Girls Don't Cry: We've kind of started making Maggie cry herself to sleep. I say "kind of" because sometimes we feel bad and cheat, and also we have neighbors. Despite our inconsistency, I think she's catching on. It seems like I finally think, "ok she's not going to sleep, I'll go get her when I'm done with this." and before I can get to her, she's stopped. The main thing is, I want her sleeping longer at night, which seems to be working.

The Title also refers to the song I was singing to myself to distract me while killing a cockroach. Sometimes I take off my glasses when I have to kill something so I can't look at it too closely. Yuck.

[Comments] (1) Talk About Self-Soothing: Last night we got home from Disneyland at about 9:20. I fed her and put her in bed - she was already asleep and didn't want her pacifier. She woke up hungry at 5:10. When I went in her room, she was on her tummy, crying, with her pacifier in sideways.

Nice try, little one.

Primary Funnies: The place was a riot today.

Teacher: What did Nephi slay for food?
Matthew: Cantaloupe.

Chorister: What can we do if we need to hold a note out for a long time?
Meghan:Say a prayer!

Teacher:What does "murmur" mean?
KC: It's like when you kill someone...

[Comments] (3) : I went shopping at Disneyland this morning since we got a 10% discount today. I bought Ember a birthday present. I bought Maggie a little T-shirt with Nemo that says "Cute and Bubbly". I bought John some Mickey pumpkin ears to be a scapegoat costume for the next 10 years. I also bought a Mickey-shaped wreath made out of tiny bells. I had to wait 1 hour for the Christmas store to open - lazy bums. I was going to buy a Mickey shirt for my birthday present (besides our trip to Utah next week), but I have decided I would rather spend $25 on clothes at Target and get more for my money.

I just spent the last 2 hours posting stuff on eBay. I also listed a bunch of things to give away on Jamie's message board. My normal somewhat-under-control impulse to get rid of things is bursting with our pending move. Only 7 weeks!

History: I have finished going through Mom's journals from 1987-2003. That's two peach boxes I've emptied. I'm keeping about 1 binder worth of stuff to scan. This project took a lot of time, but not as much as I thought it would. She stopped writing every day about 1991-2 (shocking) and it went a lot quicker after that.

This was a very enlightening project. I enjoyed reading about Mom's day-to-day life. It's hard to believe one person could accomplish so much in a day and still feel like she did nothing. Of course even at the end I was amazed at how much Mom could handle. For example, she had FIVE church callings at one point. Plus she worked, cooked from scratch, fixed up her home, gardened, took care of pets, took care of kids, worked on genealogy and scrapbooks, and had about 30 Scrabble games going on at once. What a woman.

The next thing that remains to be tackled is the Richardson genealogy. I did get rid of quite a few duplicate pages, but there's still piles of stuff. Most of it is entered into my file but it makes me nervous to get rid of it because I don't know where Dad and Grandma got some it.

[Comments] (4) Messy Girl: I got tired of handwashing Maggie's bibs so they wouldn't stain and bought some plastic ones at Target. Unfortunately the velcro is so cheap that she can yank them right off. We have some really nice bibs that Sharon made for my baby shower: a dish towel with a T-shirt collar sewed in the middle. I like them enough that I will keep handwashing them. Maybe she can show me how to make some more.

Tried carrots today. No verdict yet. She kept spitting them out, then opening her mouth for more.

[Comments] (9) :

1. Enlisted Member of the Armed Forces
2. Stock Clerk
3. Housekeeper
4. Cook
5. Magician
6. Health Records Professional
7. Painter
8. Picture Framer
9. Professional Athlete	
10. Musician
11. Furniture Finisher
12. Dancer
13. Composer
14. Telephone Operator
15. Hospital Service Worker
16. Butcher
17. Pet Groomer
18. Massage Therapist
19. Postal Clerk
20. Upholsterer

Here are my career matches. I bolded what I've considered and done. Administrative Assistant was number 21. I don't have the talent for 6 of these. And what is with all the furniture jobs?

(F)re(e)cycle-able: Today was stake conference and we didn't go. Instead we enjoyed some time together as a family, which has been rare these past couple of weeks. Last night we went out to Mexican food (on the firm). We woke up at 8:00 to gentle cooing sounds from Maggie's room as she played by herself in the crib. We had leftover pear walnut muffins for breakfast and did some going-through-stuff. We went for a really long walk at the lake, John took Maggie for a walk at the Back Bay and we went for a long walk around the neighborhood.

In other news, I used Freecycle for the first time today. I listed some plants, craft paints, really old electronics, our old comforter and a couple other things and got tons of responses. I'm amazed that someone would drive from Huntington Beach (CM doesn't have a group) to take my half-dead plants, but whatever. Add me to the freecycle fan list.

Lots to look forward to this week. John's busy season ends tomorrow (although another one starts next week), Tuesday is my birthday and he's hoping to take it off. Wednesday we fly to Utah, Thursday we are househunting, we get to spend lots of time with the fam and hopefully-cross-your-fingers will be buying a house. John will finally get what he wants for Christmas - Real Estate.

[Comments] (1) Merry UnBirthday: Maggie got invited to a tea party with the Mad Hatter. He came over, pulled a teapot out of his coat and offered her some. She smiled and held onto his glove with her slobbery finger. Then she grabbed her foot and he said, "After tea yoga!"

It'll Do You Good: On Wednesday night I went to the monthly Holbrook Girls Night Out with Grandma June, sisters- and cousins-in-law etc. A gentleman at a nearby table overheard some chat about Grandma's upcoming 90th birthday and surreptitiously paid for our meal! There were ten of us, so it certainly wasn't cheap. I've got to pass it on now.

: I just signed an offer on a house.

[Comments] (4) We bought a house!: We're having a very busy visit in Utah. So far we have bought a house, gotten pre-approved for our loan, and John got an awesome job offer from one company. He is meeting with his current company tomorrow. We've also had lots of fun hanging out with the family. Yesterday we took Dad down and visited with Brook and Erin for a couple hours, then hung out with Jodi and Franco all evening. This morning we visited Grandma June and are headed over to Jodi and Franco's once John picks his parents up from church. This afternoon is the party for the September birthdays in our family (Brook, me and Erin). It's so fun to be near our family!

So, we bought a wonderful house in Draper, right at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley - so south it's just a bit up the mountain, but right near the freeway, so it's not too far for John to drive to work. It has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, hardwood floors, a nice yard and (yay!) an awesome kitchen with lots of cupboard and counter space and a pantry. There's living room and 3 bedrooms on the main floor, and the basement just got finished with a playroom, family room, 2 bedrooms and a big storage room. It's so lovely and spacious and in a great neighborhood. Can't wait to have our own place to raise our little family in!

[Comments] (2) : Once we got home to lovely California and got Maggie fed and down for a nap, I ran off to the store. I was really frustrated when I got home and my sweet husband gave me a baby to snuggle and made dinner for me. *love*

[Comments] (1) Niblet: At the farmer's market I won "Hazelnut and Cocoa Nib Brittle." It is kind of weird tasting. I think it is something Leonard would like. The market was the first time I was able to give Maggie a snack from foods generally lying about - I let her gnaw on a piece of apple.

I'm thinking I should start packing but I don't quite know where to begin. Also Maggie is attention-hungry. Or tired. Or teething. Mom (Susan) said all her kids were late teethers - Jamie at 13 months! So I looked in my baby scrapbook and found that I got my first tooth at 7.5 months. Supposedly late teething can be very hereditary.

[Comments] (4) And the Streets are Paved with Cheese: John tells me there are no cockroaches in Utah. Hurray!

Last night I went to the General Relief Society broadcast. I really enjoyed it. The stake had a dinner afterward and I got to sit and chat with some ladies from the ward. They had posters and a slideshow with pictures from the playdate I went to a few weeks ago. Little Maggie so cute in the swing at the park.

Update: Apparently Maggie caught a (very slow) cockroach this morning. YUCK! Can we please move???

Today: Maggie took a two hour nap in the morning. I did stuff for CC and got rid of a stack of papers while she slept. When she woke up we had green bean and rice cereal delight for lunch. She wouldn't eat so I let her feed herself. Then I gave her a bath.

We ran some errands to the post office and the grocery store. I spent 2x as much at the post office - I'm being good about using up stuff in the cupboards. Also stopped by Jamba Juice. The power-suited guy in front of me spent forever trying to decide which boosts he wanted... then tried to pay with a $100 bill! I had no idea you could be so picky, by the way. They have a special key for "light banana". Came home. Maggie is asleep again.

[Comments] (5) Apple-Cheddar Soup: I made this earlier today and it is so yummy. I think I put too many potatoes, because it was kind of chunky.

1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 T. butter
2 med. potatoes, diced
2 c. apple cider
1 t. fresh thyme
1/2 t. salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 med apple, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. milk
2 T. flour
4 oz (1 cup) shredded cheese
fresh apple slices

Cook onion in butter. Stir in potatoes, cider and seasonings. Boil. Simmer covered 15 minutes. Add apple. Simmer 5 minutes until potatoes are tender. combine milk and flour - stir into soup. Cook and stir until bubbly. Whisk in cheese until melted. Top serving dishes with apple slices and fresh ground pepper.

Maggie the Witch of the East: I left Maggie playing nicely with her toys while I ate breakfast. On my way to get her I heard a little whimper. When I walked into her room she was lying on her back with her farm pulled on top of her.

[Comments] (5) Have Done/Am Doing/Will Do: 10 years ago: My 16th birthday. My first kiss. I was a junior in high school, surrounded by the teenage drama of everyday life.

5 years ago: My 21st birthday. I went with my roommates and some friends (including my future husband) to Ben & Jerry's to eat a Vermonster. Mom sent me 2 boxes of presents - 21 gifts wrapped in different paper. The box came a few days early so one of my art major roommates drew a Christmas tree, stuck it to the wall and put all my presents beneath it. It was my last year of college. I was working as a cook in the dorm cafeteria and vaguely wondering what to with my life after I graduated.

1 year ago: I was 4 months pregnant, just starting to feel great. We spent the weekend in Bakersfield helping Rachel re-acclimate to American life. I was working in Payroll and Accounting.

Right now: I've got a beautiful 7 month old baby girl asleep in the other room. We've just bought a house and are moving back to Utah. I get to stay home and be with Maggie and spend the day taking care of things around the house for our little family. I feel like this is what my whole life has been leading up to.

5 years from now: 5 years is kind of our next anticipated turning point. Between John's career and the anticipated growth in our family, we will probably have some changes coming at this time. I, however, hope to be doing basically the same thing I am doing now: taking care of my family.

10 years from now: I have no idea! I imagine I'll still be raising my little family, but the details really get fuzzy after 5 years. I have a lot of projects I'd like to work on and a lot of things I'd like to learn and do and see. 10 years from now I'll have made a dent in the list.

[Comments] (5) Guilty Party: I can't believe I am admitting this. Even to myself.

I have serious guilt issues getting rid of gifts and things people made for me. Especially mom. I know I do. I asked Mom to make me a "church" dress once. She made me a perfectly nice dress that doesn't fit me well and I don't like it. I don't like it!! It wasn't what I wanted. I've worn it maybe three times and it is still hanging in my closet.

Maybe I will feel better now. But I don't think I'll be getting rid of the dress.

[Comments] (1) "Wish you were here!": We are on vacation!! John is taking Monday off and we drove to "The Coast" to see Aunt Pat et al. I say "The Coast" because I think it's funny that I call it that when we live 5 minutes from the beach (but 4 hours away). We are having a great time. Maggie was enthralled by the antics of Leah and Joel, but exhausted herself into oblivion. This afternoon, Shannon and Pat walked with us to the estuary and we looked at the Elfin Garden, including really neat pigmy oaks strung with lichen. We are going to walk to the bay tomorrow (Morro Bay) and also visit a nearby farm/hayride/hay maze place for fun fall festivities.

[Comments] (3) : Recovering from the weekend. Maggie disdains any change in her schedule. We stayed home mostly yesterday, her sleeping and me packing. I've got to get rolling on the packing thing.

Aunt Pat sent a box of peaches home with us. I'm going my best to eat them all. We had peaches and vanilla bean ice cream for dessert last night. Maggie is helping too. She loves peaches. She is so cute sitting there holding her peach slice in her hand and trying to eat it. Alan suggested we get Great Uncle Garry to breed an "Autumn Handle" variety so she can hold on better!

Maggie is getting really good at crawling: ...

Opportunity Costs: Ran some errands this morning. Maggie and I took the recycling. I got $1.35. I took Maggie out of her carseat and stood by the scale until they gave me a receipt. Hopefully, I won't have to do this again.

Afterwards, we went to the bank to deposit all the change from my piggy bank. When I was at BYU I used to take my piggy bank and the baggies of coins Leonard would give me at Christmas to the fake bank place in the bookstore. They'd dump it in a counter-sorter and put the amount on my card for printing and snacks. Apparently, real banks do not offer such a service. So I sat on the floor and rolled my coins while Maggie crawled around. I gave up when I realized I only have full rolls of pennies. Argh.

Also, John called and said he heard from the apartment complex (head office) about the nasty letter we sent. They are going to give us back the $90 we "paid" to refinish the countertops in our old apartment - cause you know I would never chop on the counter.

[Comments] (3) Attainment: We have a sick baby at our house. She's been throwing up since last night. The doctor has not called me back, so apparently it is not life-threatening.

Other things Maggie has done today:
Pooped in the bathtub.
Crawled. Forward. ie. toward the pacifier. I was originally hoping Maggie wouldn't start crawling until after we moved so I wouldn't have to baby proof. She is so dang cute ambling along, though. I videotaped it and we almost cried watching it. *Proud Parent Moment*
Pulled herself to standing in her crib. The aforementioned doctor told me this would not happen until 9 months. Not! I moved the crib mattress down while John walked Maggie to sleep.

: I now have two sick babies at my house. Poor John has caught Maggie's yuckies. We took her to the doctor to make sure she isn't drying out and to get better advice on giving her food and drink. Now she is zonked out in her carseat and John is in bed with a towel, a trashcan and some ginger ale.

[Comments] (1) : Now there are three sick babies at our house, and no one to take care of any of them. Luckily John is feeling better today - better enough to take care of Maggie so I can lie here at least. I wish we had someone to go get us saltine crackers.

Recovery: I'm feeling better today. Poor little Maggie is up and down, but hopefully she is mostly up. We (and by "we" I mean John) have packed one whole box the past few days. The house is a mess. I have apparently lost 15 pounds. I'd like to say things will be in order by Monday, but we are moving! Give me another month.

[Comments] (1) Publish Me: I've started writing articles to earn a bit of money. I get paid more if people read them, so please do. Refer them on if you like. If you're interested I can set you up to receive emails when I publish a new article. I've been writing the kind of articles I like to read. If you have any article ideas you think I could write, or that you would like to read, let me know!

[Comments] (1) I Can Laugh at Myself: The maintenance crew is hosing off the upstairs patio (and going to do ours after). The guy came by earlier to tell me to close the patio door. Later, I thought I heard someone knock. I almost opened the door, but I peeked out the peephole first... and got sprayed! Good thing I didn't open the door!

Miss Maggie is crawling all over the place. Don't know what I'm going to do with her. I just finished getting all our utilities set up at our new house (and also turned back on at Mom's for inspections). New House! Yay! I just checked the weather which confirms it is 99° here.

[Comments] (4) : Been a bit busy lately. The movers have just left and our apartment is empty other than the air mattress I'm sitting on and the port-a-crib with a (FINALLY) sleeping baby in it. John gets in around 10 PM - tomorrow we're on our way!

[Comments] (3) Housie Home: I will never be able to write an entry worthy of the past week's happenings so I won't try.

We've moved into our lovely house and gotten mostly settled. All our furniture, and a new dining set, two new rugs and a washer and dryer have all arrived and are in place. We're just waiting for the couches for the front room which we'll get on Sunday. Franco painted Maggie's room lavender and "my" "office" light green to match future babies' Pooh bedding.

The longer we're in the house the more crappy of a job we realize the previous owners did fixing up the place. They did most of the work themselves and it seems they were pretty lazy about it. Oh well. If everything was already just the way we wanted it, we wouldn't have any fun projects to look forward too.

Our neighborhood is great. There is an awesome park just a couple blocks away (awesome because it has swings!). There are also really two nice walking trails across the street and several other lame parks nearby. We live a bit up the mountain, on a steep street so the neighborhood is really hilly and it's a killer workout going around.

We're having a housewarming party the day after Thanksgiving so swing by if you're in town. Once we get everything put away (just a few more boxes - John is an awesome unpacker!) I'll post pictures of our beautiful new home.

[Comments] (1) Things I Love About Our House:
The kitchen. Lots of cupboards and counter space. A pantry. Great lighting. Hardwood floors. Big freezer and refrigerator. Lazy susie cupboard. New dishwasher.

Huge family and play room. My own office. A yard to play in. It's on a hill so it's good exercise to walk around the neighborhood. Park nearby. A new grocery store coming just 1 mile away. Awesome views of the mountains and the valley. A new temple coming just 3 miles away. Right by the freeway. Vaulted ceilings. Fenced with fancy white fencing. Lots of space. Room to grow. A garage. Recycling container (free). The bay window in our bedroom. My own laundry room. Ceiling fans.

[Comments] (2) : John is out of town for a training, so Maggie and I are trying not to be lonely. She went to bed right when we got home last night, so I finished two books and went to bed too. We both slept very well. Brook came by this morning to bring some of Ember's old toys, including and awesome little kitchen (cause we need more toys). Monday is Grandma June day, so we had IHOP for lunch. Maggie took a nap there, then woke up to a container of bananas and a good mood. I think she is starting to like having the family all around. She was pretty friendly to everyone today. Jamie gave me some stuff to do for her scrapbooking kits. Maggie is "napping" so I'm going to keep working on that, and unpack my office some more. My goal while John is gone is to unpack, clean, and take pictures of the house to share.

It's Beginning to Feel...: I got a surprising amount done today considering I wasn't home much. I woke Maggie up to feed her and she stayed up, so I got two loads of laundry, the dishes, the grocery shopping and some cleaning done in the morning. I even got a few of the pictures taken of the house.

We spent the afternoon at Gardner Village with Susan. I bought ornaments for Maggie and myself, both snowmen with babies. Indeed, I found a non-tacky Baby's First Christmas ornament. It is a s'more with a marshmallow snowman holding a baby marshmallow snowman. (They had a whole collection of s'more snowmen throughout the store.)

After Maggie showed off for Grandpa, we came home and I cleaned the bathrooms. Then we went to Brook and Erin's for dinner. I was smart this time and packed Maggie's PJs in the diaper bag. She crawled around playing with her cousins (and Jazzmine) and went comfily straight to the crib from sleeping in the car. Also, my garage door opener has stopped working.

John gets home tomorrow. I am also going to the Holbrook Girl's Night Out, at least until Maggie gets grumpy.

[Comments] (4) : You can see pictures of our house all set up here.

PS: Not all of the pictures show up on the first page, so click "Old Posts" to see them all. I had issues trying to get everything in one post so I gave up.

[Comments] (2) : Last night I finished rereading the Harry Potter series. It was very interesting and refreshing, but toward the end I found myself getting emotionally involved and considering the books often so I'm glad I'm done. I noticed a lot of things throughout that tied in with the rest of the story but I didn't notice until I knew the ending. I also noticed some things that I skipped over in my quick reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (since I took a whole 5 days to read it this time).

I am really loving our new house. Now that we've picked apart everything that's wrong with it I can truly enjoy it. Also it is really nice to get back into our routine. We've met a few of our neighbors and ward members who are very nice. The ward seems pretty friendly and not as clique-y as I thought it would be. Maggie has been good at church lately too, which helps. She goes to Elder's Quorum with John.

Speaking of Maggie being good at church, she has suddenly started napping a lot less. Most of her naps this week were in the car or stroller. She napped over an hour in her carseat at Jamie's house on Friday. She is sleeping well at night, so I won't complain. I don't even mind, I just wish she'd said, "Mom, I'm going to start being weird about naps." She follows me around the house, playing with her toys in every room and climbing onto my lap if she can, but now that John is working again she is less clingy to me.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week, and also our open house on Friday. Even though we are keeping it simple I have a huge shopping list for the things I am making. It's all going to be delicious.

[Comments] (5) Ah, to be 89 again: Monday is the day to visit Grandma June. I went down when Maggie woke up from a very long nap and we took Grandma to the cemetery and to McDonald's to get a coke float to settle her stomach.

Maggie is taking another nap so I am setting up automatic bill payments and finishing the laundry. And showing off the snowmen decorations John and I made yesterday.

Today I: Spent $142 on groceries. Fed Maggie two entire containers of veggies for lunch. Did a load of laundry. Started a layout of wet Maggie pictures. Made a pair of babylegs using this pattern. Ate leftovers. Deposited three refund checks from canceled CA stuff. Listened to Christmas music. Got Maggie addicted to Gerber sweet potato puffs. Talked to my mother in-law twice. Unloaded the dishwasher. Used coupons. Put Maggie in her winter coat to walk to the mailbox. Browsed JoAnn and the Dollar Tree. Received a DVD (A Christmas Story), the first tangible thing I've received for doing online surveys. Watered the plants. Learned how to keep ribbon from fraying by melting the end with a match. Posted a contest on the CC forum. Dusted the ceiling fans. Enjoyed our view of the entire Salt Lake Valley. Picked up Maggie's toys in the front room. Joined the Salt Lake City network on Facebook. Got ready for our housewarming party. Played peek-a-boo. Snuggled.

[Comments] (1) Happy Thanks: We spent Thanksgiving at Grandma June's with John's family and his uncle's family. It was a lot of fun. We ate yummy food, then drove out to the farm to take family pictures. It was SO cold, we took pictures of both entire families and all the individual families in half an hour. Then we went back to Grandma's for pie. Aunt Michelle took pictures of all the kids with Grandma, printed them off and brought out foam Thanksgiving frames for them to glue and decorate. They loved it. We stopped by Jamie's on our way home for a while so we got home very late.

[Comments] (1) Happy Home: Last night was our Housewarming Party/Open House. It was a big success! Jon and Sharon came with their girls. Two couples from former wards with their babies. And John's entire family - we had a birthday party for Mom, Justin and Tyler after. Oh, and Erin's mom, Lynn, came too.

I made a cheeseball, fresh salsa, a veggie tray and penguins made out of cream cheese-stuffed olives. John made apple cider and pumpkin spice muffins (I made the cream cheese frosting). Everyone loved the food. It was fun to have our house filled with family. I like to pretend I can entertain, but I don't often get (or take) the chance, so this was really nice. We used crystal plates to eat and serve on, one of my punch bowls and one whole box of my punch cups (out of four).

Maggie actually conked out in her crib about 8:30 and slept through an hour and a half of chattering "white noise" from the kitchen. She slept pretty well last night. Today we did a bit of Christmas decorating. We're going to set up our mini-tree tomorrow and go next Saturday to buy a real tree. It's making me excited for Christmas and to see my siblings.

[Comments] (4) No Good, Horrible, Not So Bad Day: So Maggie slept a lot yesterday and felt warm to me when she woke up in the evening. Then she was up all night, whimpering in her bed, or lightly dozing on her daddy's chest. Have I not mentioned the awesomeness of my husband?? Anyway, I got up with her early this morning, same deal. I finally took her temperature and it was 101.9 so I called the doctor.

Went to the doctor at 2pm. Bump bump bump, why is the road so bumpy? Because there is a BOLT sticking out of my tire, that's why!! Called AAA from the doctor's office. Met the doctor. When the nurse said, "he'll be right in", he actually was. Yes, the good part of my day (which, despite all the terrible things I am writing about, was not really that bad) was that I really like Maggie's pediatrician. Maggie has a little ear infection. He had to dig a big piece of ear wax off her ear drum to discover this. She also has a plugged tear duct, super dry skin and a bad attitude.

The AAA guy called me in the middle of Maggie screaming at her ear being picked at. I waited inside while he changed the tire in the cold. Then I put my crying baby in the car and went to go to the store to get her prescription and I could not get the emergency brake off. Not kidding. I had to call the AAA guy to come back and take it off! I fed Maggie in the car while I waited (no wonder she was screaming...). Right.

We went to the store. I carried Maggie in her carrier because I've had enough of her sucking on the grocery cart and getting diseases. I saw a very nice lady from our ward at the store. The prescriptions took longer than my shopping because they had to call the pharmacy I went to in CA. When we left the store (behind the nice lady who was putting money in the SA bellringer's bucket), it was raining. By the time we got home it was snowing. And Maggie had peed through all her clothes.

Rachel says I am more well-balanced than she because all these things haven't affected me too badly. I actually thought, as I tried to yank a bolt out of my hissing tire, "at least I can wait for AAA while I am waiting for the doctor anyway." Better luck tomorrow. My backyard is getting frosty!

Cold, Cold: Maggie slept pretty well last night, in between actually going to sleep and John's alarm going off (he had to get to work pretty early today). I hope that means she is feeling better, especially since I have a bit of a sore throat.

It is a beautiful day outside, bright and sunny, even though it was snowing pretty heavily in places. We went to Discount Tire first thing to get the tire fixed. It took them about 10 minutes and they didn't charge anything. My kind of tire store. Then we shopping till Maggie dropped. We went to Target to get a fire extinguisher (can you believe they were out of kitchen fire extinguishers two days after Thanksgiving?), some stocking stuffers and some clothes for Maggie. Then we went to Babies R Us and bought more clothes and a Christmas present for Maggie.

When we got home I took pictures of our house covered in snow, and now I am eating a nice warm bowl of apple-cheddar soup.

: Maggie and I went down to Jamie's this afternoon so I could help with CC stuff. We meant to do it earlier this week, but all three of us were sick... I didn't actually get to help much, since I had a screaming baby clinging to me. Eventually Justin came home and entertained her so that I could help a little bit. At least I am good company, if not very useful!

Maggie just adores Justin and I think the feeling is mutual. She really likes all her cousins, but she and Justin have a little bond. Some of the adults try that hard to entertain her and she just doesn't buy it.

[Comments] (6) Other Uses for Silicone Baking Cups: When Maggie is sitting in her highchair we give her kitchen stuff to play with, you know, so she'll start baking by her first birthday. She really loves to gnaw on my silicone baking cups. Must be good for teething.

I finally got rid of the boxes from our move this morning - finally because I got around to doing it, not because it took so long. I posted them on the U-haul box exchange website and a couple leaving BYU came to pick them up. I highly recommend anyone getting rid of boxes to use this website - reusing is even better than recycling.

In other reusing news, we picked up a fake Christmas tree from one of mom's elderly neighbors. John decorated it so beautifully with white lights and silver, gold and red ornaments. I added icicles from mom's house - the boxes were taped shut with medical tape. Other things we are putting up for the first time (since we moved at Christmas last year) are the felt advent calendar mom made and Grandma Rosie's ceramic Christmas tree. Maggie also likes playing with the stuffed nativity set.

Oh yes, also it snowed about 8 inches yesterday and we shoveled our driveway and learned to use the Pathfinder's 4wd. It gets very windy where we live. I've had to pick up trash from the yard (and also the trash cans). Right now the sun is out but the snow is blowing all over the place. I'm going to have to wash our kitchen windows.

Time Flies: Erin, Logan and Ember came over after church for a waffle dinner and to play with Maggie. We had lots of fun playing with the toys; Erin and Ember especially loved the Fisher Price camping trailer, and we also had fun talking about books/movies. I actually forgot that today is Dec 2 and we were supposed to put up two things on the advent calendar already! Logan and Ember each did one while they were here.

Also, I forgot to say that we went to the Festival of Trees with Tyler and Tasha on Friday. They have a baby just a few weeks younger than Maggie. It was fun. Collette is also a pacifier addict, but she like to chew on the handle while holding onto the nipple. I think it's funny that we are still friends with Tyler and Tasha - they were our neighbors when we were at BYU, but we've made an effort to see each other whenever we are in the same state (she is from CA).

Trapped: Yesterday I put together the baby gate I bought at IKEA, no small feat as anyone who has bought an unassembled item from IKEA knows. It isn't the easiest thing to use, but it sure feels good to know I can let her crawl around wherever. She cried when she crawled over and saw me on the other side of it (putting it up). It's like she's trapped in a really big crib!

Firsts: So far this week Maggie has had her first french fry, her first cookie, and has learned to open the kitchen cupboards (babyproofed) and drawers (soon to be filled with baby play things).

Taco Stack: I was a good wife and made dinner tonight. This isn't the recipe I kept the page for, but it was yummy!

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 package taco seasoning
12 corn tortillas
shredded cheese

Brown ground beef with onion in skillet; drain fat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Place 1/4 c. meat in bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place two tortillas side by side on meat mixture. Top each tortilla with some meat mixture and shredded cheese. Repeat until each stack contains 6 tortillas layered with meat and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cut each stack into quarters. I served it with sour cream and green onions.

Also, Tasha inspired me to make babyfood so I bought a butternut squash, baked it, and pureed it in the blender with a bit of water. It is delicious! Maggie liked it too. I'm not sure it was any cheaper though. I will have to try some other recipes.

: I spent almost the entire day at Jamie's today, helping box kits etc. Maggie was really good. She napped for 1/2 hour in her carseat, and for 2 hours in her port-a-crib (bringing that was a great idea), and played on the floor in between. The highlight (lowlight?) of the day was Tyler getting on the wrong bus and spending a frantic hour looking and calling around for him. He and Justin are spending the night at our house. We have big plans for tomorrow, but the snow is trying to interfere.

It's so pretty outside with an inch or so or snow covering everything and the light reflecting off the clouds and making everything white and pretty.

Yay and Nay: Huggies sent me a coupon for a free pack of diapers and two $1 off because I emailed them about the half a diaper in our box. Just in time since I just finished using all the coupons they sent me when I got a diaper with no tabs. I strongly recommend writing to the company when you have an issue with a product. I remember one of my roommates getting a free container of laundry detergent once too.

I also called Real Simple about never getting my December issue and they wouldn't do anything about it because my subscription is up in January! We had the same problem with the Ensign, but they didn't seem to have a problem sending me a new copy (they even sent December, although that one was forwarded right after I called).

One of my stay-at-home hobbies has been to do surveys online. I've gotten about $80, a DVD, a $25 gift card and a packet of taco seasoning since signing up in April. Today I (well, John) got a full-size bottle of shower gel to try. I thought it was just going to be a little sample.

Little Maggie: Maggie had a 9 month appointment today. Nine months in, nine months out. Her last appointment was at 5 1/2 months and she has gained... ONE POUND! And one inch. She is at 15% and 10% and practically shrinking. The doctor said she probably works it all off running around all day.

The doctor spent a lot of time discussing Maggie's eating and sleeping habits with me, which I appreciated. It was very reassuring. When we got home I let Maggie suck on a cheese stick and try her sippy cup again.

Playing Favorites: Maggie has gotten into the habit of carrying things around in her mouth while she crawls. She has a few favorite things she likes to bring with her. She likes the Cars Sheriff cereal box car, the rooster from the "antique" Fisher Price set, and any of her chewtoys with a ring on them. She reminds me of the dog with the keys on Pirates of the Caribbean sometimes.

[Comments] (3) Ask and You Shall Receive: I love wishlists. Brilliant, I tell you. And registries. If you know I'm going to buy you a gift, just tell me what you want. John is a very creative gift giver. He comes up with great ideas that are not only different and thoughtful, but something the recipient will actually enjoy and use. Just give me a list, and I will buy you want you want. People are getting what they want from me for Christmas this year. I have listened to the subtle and obvious hints, and read the wishlists. Even stocking stuffers (mostly) are things people really want! Go me.

UPDATE: Speaking of presents, I got another box from Leonard! The space under our tree is getting filled. Maggie and I went downstairs to wrap the presents from Leonard, one for Mom, and the white elephant for John's work party (an EY piggy bank filled with pennies). Well, Maggie mostly chewed on people's stocking stuffers. Sorry guys!

[Comments] (1) Pretty Lightses: We drove up to Temple Square this evening. It was really cold and Maggie had to sit in her dirty diaper, but other than that it was great. There were nativities from all around the world, luminaries, floating lights in the reflection pool and, of course, different colored lights all in the trees. Maggie enjoyed the people watching more than the lights probably. We took a few pictures and they actually turned out pretty nice outside.

Earlier we went to Walmart and bought gifts for someone on the Angel Tree there. It was a lot of fun. We bought a coat, jeans, socks, a set of Barbie clothes, a pots and pans set and a play food set for a 6 year old girl. Hey, I guess we do have a tradition for our little family!

I made pesto for dinner using the food processor blender attachment I took from Mom's house. The reason I did not previously own a food processor is because I thought I'd only use it for pesto. I actually used it to make salsa for our open house a few weeks ago, but let me tell you, even if I only ever used it for pesto, it is worth it! I kept saying, "wow!" at how easy it was to make. It took me about 10 minutes from start to finish, and now we have several emergency meals for the freezer.

No Tree Skirt? No Problem!: I got a final box from Leonard yesterday. Our tree is so happy with lots of presents under it. It seems that we have tamed the Richardson stocking stuffer extravaganza. Although, Rachel and I still have too much, and John and Leonard not enough. (Sumana has just the right amount of stuff!) Rachel will be here this evening - Christmas begins!

If the Magster ever wakes up we are going to run out and get a few more Christmas things. I wasn't sure if I would, but it doesn't look like snow, so I will take advantage.

[Comments] (2) With My Head in the Air: I know this is so egocentric, but I love when drop-down lists of countries have United States at the top.

Like Mother, Like Sister: Maggie has really taken well to Rachel. Last night she even let Rachel set her on her lap, put her socks on, carry her around, and hold her while we sang some Christmas carols. Rachel fed Maggie her breakfast this morning too.

It is a snowy, comfy cozy day. I've been baking all morning. I made two batches of regular pretzels and one of whole wheat. I also made some pear walnut muffins for breakfast. John left for work in the Pathfinder, then came home 10 minutes later, and is working from home instead. The sun is peeking out now, but it was nasty last night and this morning, so I'm glad to have him safe at home.

We had an early Christmas with Rachel last night and this morning. She bought Maggie a train book/playset that reminds me of The Jolly Postman. We almost got Maggie to tug on the paper a bit. I got a lovely ceramic bell from Lviv, and John got a huge box of UK chocolates. We (including Leonard and Sumana) got Rachel loads of stuff from her wishlist. Such a spoiled girl.

I'd better go shovel the sidewalk and clean the floor. It is nice having people to watch Maggie so I can do stuff!

[Comments] (1) Baby Jesus is on the Advent Calendar: A storm is blowing in and Leonard's plane is delayed an hour. The good news is, it's Christmas Eve! We've had exciting festivities the past few days. Rachel came for a short but nice visit. We exchanged gifts with her, and also let her open her stocking. Maggie had lots of fun playing with her Auntie Rachel.

Saturday morning was Grandma June's 90th birthday party. It was pretty nice, and I think she really enjoyed it. She has giant, old pictures of all of her grandchildren in her TV room. They took a new one of all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were present (the Chadwicks rather poorly represented).

Last night we had dinner with Maggie's Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Jamie. After a couple hours she warmed up to everyone and started crawling over to and voluntarily touching people! She even let Grandma pick her up without screaming.

Today we went to the grocery store. I am on a budget. But it doesn't start until January. We bought Maggie a cheaper brand of baby food, and also some stuff for me to make her some. She is starting to eat more table foods too, like bananas, cereal, and other fruits. She is growing more and more into a little girl and becoming less like a baby. I put her hair in pigtails (to try to combat the mullet effect...) for church yesterday. She was just so adorable! I love watching her actually play with some of her toys, or turning pages in a book. John brought home a logo-ed maraca from work which she loves playing with. Of course mostly she just likes to chew on stuff.

[Comments] (2) Holiday Overload: I got lots of fun presents for Christmas. John bought us a family membership to the Hogle Zoo, some carbon monoxide detectors, and various things I picked out. Leonard and Sumana bought me some books and kitchen utensils and a huge box of Fran's chocolates. Rachel got me a ceramic bell to match the others. John's parents gave us a barbeque.

Maggie got some fun books, clothes and bathtoys. Leonard gave her $100 for her college fund inside a funny card. It was a comic with people being shocked and surprised at Baby Alive drinking and eating!!! Inside, Leonard wrote: To Maggie, of whom more is expected.

The best gift I gave was some running shoes I got a great deal on for John. I wrapped them and put them under the tree, hiding the black dress shoes we picked out for him a few weeks earlier. He was very surprised when he opened them. Unfortunately they are too small, so we'll have to try and exchange them.

[Comments] (1) So Sweet: I got home late last night from taking Leonard and Sumana to the airport. My side of the bed was all pulled down with a warm rice bag at the foot. I don't think anyone's ever done something so nice for me!

[Comments] (4) Relations: We had a cousins' party here tonight, since some of the Walches were in town. Jon and Sharon came, and Joe, Louise, David, Ashley, Lorna, Michelle and Michelle's boyfriend. We had ham, potatoes, broccoli salad, rolls, and pie and it was all delicious. It was fun to see everyone and hang out.

This is one great thing about living in Utah - it will always be a gathering place.



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