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I am way too excited about this: We spent last night and most of today at John's parents and had so much fun. We played games. I love games!!!!!!!! We played Wise and Otherwise, and I won for the first time, Cranium Pop5, Apples to Apples, CatchPhrase etc. Hopefully I got my fill for a bit. We also played Rockband (the video game). It was fun, but I think I'd get tired of the same 20 songs. I didn't get a chance to try the Wii, but I'm sure Jamie and I will have a fun time playing some day while the boys are at school. I thought I'd have a hard time staying up, but I didn't and we had a fun time. Maggie seems to finally be getting used to people - or growing a little out of her mommy clingyness.

[Comments] (3) Bookworm: I read about 9000 pages (finished books) in 2007 including the entire Harry Potter series, a few Wodehouse, a few Nora Roberts, Wicked and Son of a Witch and The Spiderwick Chronicles. About 500 more pages than 2006, a year during which, believe it or not, I read no Harry Potter.

[Comments] (1) : Yesterday I took Maggie to John's parents to hang out. Jodi came by after work too. Maggie was so good, let people hold her and play with her. Makes me happy. It's nice to take a bathroom break and not hear her scream the whole time.

[Comments] (2) Monkey Trap: A while ago, while sitting in the cart at Target, Maggie dropped her pacifier on a box in the cart. She reached back to get it, then found she couldn't get her hand back through. Maggie, being smarter than a monkey (and also being in a grocery cart and not a box) reached her other hand around to get it out. Such a smart girl! We spent the whole day at Jamie's and she was really good.

[Comments] (2) How the Giraffe Got His Spots: Since John's office is moving he has been working from home the past two days. Since it wasn't too cold, we zipped off yesterday to get our family membership to the Hogle Zoo. Some of the animals weren't out in the cold (the elephants and rhinos), but all the kitties were out and playful in the snow, and the monkeys (which were inside) were happy to see some company. We also went in the giraffe barn and saw the new baby. One of the giraffes came over to check us out. John could have reached up and patted its nose, he was so close.

Maggie is now required to go 8 hours at night without being fed. She does this very well, but that isn't to say she doesn't wake up crying at night for other reasons. However, other than a few peeps at 10:30, she slept for 9:45 hours last night. Good Girl.

I was invited to a Recipe Swap with some girls in the ward. It was a lot of fun and I got a few cool new recipes. It was nice to feel included.

[Comments] (1) : Had my first scrapbooking crop last night! Jamie, Mom and Jodi came over. Jamie and I made cards for the card swap we signed up at CC. Mom worked on her cabin book and Jodi played with Tyler. John and Dad watched a movie. It was fun and I got my cards all done. Hopefully it will be a monthly thing for us girls to get together.

Collection of Fun Stuff: Two nights ago John got out of bed in the middle of the night while I was feeding Maggie and rewarmed my rice bag. Isn't that so sweet? I'm spoiled.

We spoke in church on Sunday, about Spiritual Gifts. Susan came to our Sacrament Meeting. Maggie crawled right over to her Grandma and sat on her lap.

Maggie has a tendency to crawl away rapidly whenever she is bare-bottomed. She gets her excited face on, her mouth in a big "O" and she can really move. Maybe it's a desire to mark her territory. Last night we were getting her PJs on and she crawled right out the door, then right back in like she'd lost her mind. John said, "Maggie you have BabyD" and I couldn't stop laughing. (Say it out loud.) Heehee.

Fear Not, Leonard: I still have your Lederhosen.

Saddened as we all are by the Post Office's eating of Leonard's inheiritance, I found a bright spot today. I decided to go through my trunk of "stuff I insist on keeping" and make an inventory, so that when Maggie is old enough to play with my pink crystal doll tea set, we'll remember we have it. When packing this sort of stuff, Rachel and I insisted on keeping some of Leonard's things he refused to admit he will want. I have a yellow outfit, an embroidered baby sheet, a sweater from Germany (ugly), a sweater from England (really cute, if you are a nerdy little boy like Leonard was), and of course, a Lederhosen Mom made for him.

I also found my christening gown which I KNOW I looked for after we found out we were having a girl. It was at the very bottom, smushed under another baby dress, so I must not have seen it. Oh well, the dress Jamie bought for Maggie is cuter.

I also insisted on keeping: green glass grape salt and pepper shakers that hang on a brass stand (Grandma Rosie's), one of Sprite's horseshoes, my xylophone mallets and a teeny dress from my first Christmas. And I found a beautiful teacup and saucer from Grandma Lorna which I don't remember putting in there, or ever seeing before. Sharon recently brought us three little Christmas dresses my Mom made which I added to the trunk. Since Maggie was born about the same time (of year) as Rachel, she should fit into one of them next year.

Play Time: Maggie and I had our first playdate with Tasha and Colette. Poor Colette had a cold both before and after the holidays, so we've been holding out. It was fun. The girls enjoyed crawling all over each other and chewing on each other's toys. Colette got some fun toys for Christmas, but I am actually jealous of how few toys she has. I'd get rid of some of our toys, but they are so cool, and Maggie plays with them all! We've got another playdate planned for next week, if nobody gets sick.

I also took Maggie to the doctor to get weighed. She gained seven ounces this month. We also went to the PO to buy postage for various packages (!) and to the "Cuddle Time" at the library. People at this story time were much more friendly than at the one in Newport Beach. Maggie really enjoyed it too, and made some friends. There was a woman there with kids aged 2 1/2, 14 months, and baby. Y-i-k-e-s.

This was our first day out and about this week, as we are still on a spending freeze. We had fun, and she is worn out.

: Maggie, who is now an expert at cruising, has started walking a bit holding on to my hands. She'll only do it a few times a day, but it gets her excited.

[Comments] (1) Magtime: Little Maggie stood alone yesterday while we were at Jamie's house helping unpack. One of her favorite pastimes lately is pulling things off of shelves - books, diapers, stuffed animals etc. Today at church she pointed to a picture of her Daddy and said, "dada!"

John gave her two clangy balls he bought on his mission and said, "these are from China!" Then Maggie (through her daddy) said, "Big deal! All my toys are from China."

Snow Day: We got over a foot of snow today. John worked from home, much to Maggie's delight. We tried to dig ourselves out during her nap. Luckily a neighbor came by and helped with his snowblower. There is seriously a ton of snow. Shoveling is quite a workout.

[Comments] (1) : Yesterday, Maggie and I went to a viewing for a tiny baby boy that was born several months early to Kristen (my 23/7 Romania buddy). He made it a few weeks. Very sad.

[Comments] (5) Yummy in my Tummy: I've been trying out a lot of new crockpot recipes in an attempt to make feeding my family easier, faster, and yummier. Yesterday I put two chicken breasts and half a jar of spaghetti sauce (Ragu was only $1 at Smith's and I had a coupon - I haven't bought spaghetti sauce in years!) and let it cook on both settings for who-knows-how-long. I served it with whole wheat pasta and parmesan cheese and it was yummy. Probably the easiest meal I've ever made!

I also made an eclair cake at John's request. I made chocolate sauce from scratch because I only use it for eclair cake and I am out of money in my grocery budget this month. It was easy and super yummy. I couldn't find mom's recipe, so I 1/3-ed one I found online:

1/3 c. cocoa
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
Boil for 2-5 minutes.

PS: I uploaded some cute pictures of the bug to our picture blog - click on "Pictures" to the right. And read all my latest articles while you're at it!

Music Teacher: Last week I started giving Ember piano lessons. Today was her second lesson. She is really into it and is a good practicer, so it is going very well. I picked out the Bastien lesson books for her, which are the same ones I learned from. I am really enjoying teaching her.

Since we will be watching Jazmine while Brook's family goes to Florida next week (or I will, at least, since John will be out of town as well), Erin has been bringing her to the lessons. Maggie just loves Jazmine (she also chased Jodi's cat Princess around), but she slept right through the lesson today, and kept on sleeping for 2 1/2 hours. I think poor Erin was a bit bored, but I did get some books from the library on decluttering and simplifying that she looked through.

Not So Lonely This Time: Brook and Erin (and Erin's entire family) left this morning to spend a week at Disneyworld. I guess I shouldn't say "the entire family" because they left a very important someone behind - a black furry someone curled next to me. I'm dog-sitting Jazmine while they're gone. It worked out really well because John is also gone. John left early this morning too for OC - he has a busy work week ahead of him. Jazzy used to be a very high-strung and easily-freaked-out dog, but appears to have mellowed in her old age. She is a very well-behaved dog, and a good snuggler. Maggie adores her, although I'm not sure the feeling is quite mutual.

Anywho, the really awful storm that was supposed to make the morning commute (and everyone's trip to the airport, and flights) miserable hasn't shown up yet, so I may get to see Grandma June today. If you recall, we got 14 inches of snow last Monday and didn't get to go visit.

[Comments] (3) Crazy Animals: We took Justin to the zoo with us on Saturday. It was very nice day - we even got to see the elephants out. Justin took pictures of everything, all the animals until the battery on the camera died. He also entertained Maggie enormously, and they both fell asleep in the car. Justin can be a bit crazy sometimes but his energy really doesn't bother me. I let him get away with a bit at Grandma June's 90th birthday party and said to Erin, "I'm a middle child too." We let him run all over the zoo, and act like a sloth, and since he didn't crack his head open, maybe he's the better for it.

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