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[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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