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Happy Conference: John took yesterday off (or tried to) so we spent the day working on lots of projects. We (mostly John) did a lot of painting in the garage. I sewed Maggie a candy corn tutu and started making a dress for Rachel. More of the same was planned for today, but it's raining so I don't know if we'll paint.

Fall Crop: Coordinates Collections is having a Fall Crop this weekend. The challenges will be up tonight and you have until Sunday to enter your projects. There are lots of awesome prizes up for grabs, so be sure to check it out. I actually planned ahead of time and got pictures printed, so I will definitely be scrapping this weekend.

In unrelated news, Rachel will be visiting next week and I can't wait!!

Projects, Pantries and Ponies: I've been on a Christmas-present making roll. I've got tons of sewing and crochet projects going on. I won't tell you what they are because I don't want to spoil anyone's suprises. But I'm really excited about a lot of them! I've also been working on Maggie's Halloween costume (for example). I also made and sent out a surprise for someone today.

This week we got a fancy new shelf for our laundry room. We got it to help organize our food and water storage. I am such a nerd and I love to look at my pretty, organized pantry and shelves all day long. And not just mine - I admired Tasha's for a good ten minutes the other week. She was pleased that she's not the only nerd.

Yesterday for our playdate we took the girls to the farm at Thanksgiving Point. We had a 50% coupon. Since it wasn't nearly so crowded as last time, and Maggie was begging, we took the girls on the pony ride. They were such big girls, bobbing along on the ponies. So cute.

[Comments] (1) Stocking Stuffer Solutions: Our family loves to do stocking stuffers - maybe a little too much. However, now that we are not all together on Christmas necessarily, I've discovered a snag. It's not quite as fun if we're not there to explain something. I came up with a solution to this and I'm putting marking tags with a description on some of the stocking stuffers I'm giving. I am restraining myself from writing apologies on the things I've made, although I'd undoubtably give them in person.

Also, I am being more organized this year and I wrote everyone's name on a brown lunch sack and lined them up on the shelf in the laundry room. Now I can add stocking stuffers as I collect them without rummaging through a pile of unmarked grocery sacks. Also, maybe the lunch sack size will keep me from overbuying. We'll see.

[Comments] (1) Woot Wandered Here: Rachel is here visiting and being the most helpful sister ever. She's done the dishes, utilized the seam ripper and chalk marker, and fully intends to clean the floors today. I don't know how much of this is because I am sewing her a dress to wear to a wedding next week, and how much is because she loves us. Hmm.

We went to Jon and Sharon's last night. Maggie had so much fun playing with the dogs, the kitties and Sarah. We had yummy stirfry and Rachel made lemon bars. Also, Maggie loves flamin' hot cheetos; Uncle Jon says babies don't develop spicy taste buds until 3 or 4, so that may explain it. Or she developed a taste for them in the womb.

We are having Girl's Night Out at my house tonight, and I have piano lessons, but other than that I will be sewing.

Family Soup: Last night we had John's extended female relatives over for Girl's Night Out (In). It was lots of fun. I picked up food from Zupa's, so that was delicious. We fit 9 of us around our table, Rachel and Camilla hung out downstairs, and John was kind enough to entertain Maggie and her 2nd cousin Julia at the Little Tikes table. Afterwards, Rachel and Camilla and I chatted for another hour.

Today we are going to the zoo and s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g.

Rachel is better than her friends: Rachel: I don't care. I'm more generous and giving.

[Comments] (1) Strongly Worded: This is for the six people who forwarded me that Prop 8 video about the man who was arrested in Massachusetts.

Will it really injure our children to learn in school that some men love men, some women love women, we still love those people, and in some places it is legal for them to marry? Let your children learn what's legal at school and teach them what's right at home - just like you do with everything else.

Religious Freedom is Intact! (near the end of the page). Amazing. Don't use lies to prove your point. It reminds me of the lies and fearmongering going around about Obama. "He's Muslim!" "His middle name is Hussein!" "He's black!" Who. Cares.

I am not concered that allowing gay people to marry is affecting my marriage or my "definition" of marriage and I'm tired of people forcing their views of others (by passing them into law, or just by being annoying). Gay people aren't trying to ban you. They just want rights for themselves.

And who says gay parents can't raise children well? Or that they'll turn out gay themselves? Chances are their parents weren't gay.

Also it bugs me that non-Californians (ie. Utahns) are so involved in this. The [California] Church's involvement is one thing: they have every right to defend, define and try to legalize their beliefs (although I think they may be overdoing it and shooting themselves in the foot). Are Utahns jealous they didn't get such a big fight putting up the law here? Maybe it is annoying in other states as well but I don't have to live there.

I guess I am a bit of a hypocrite because though I may be a California Girl, I am not a registered California voter. But everyone must think I have some influence or that it's my business what California does or they'd quit pressuring me to vote "Yes" on Prop 8.

Hey, a Barack Obama ad on the Deseret News website! (/soapbox)

Post-Busy Season Fun Week, Part 1: John is taking vacation this week so we've had lots of fun things planned. Saturday we went to see Wall-e at the Dollar Theater, where we had to pay for Maggie to do something for the first time. I liked the movie, other than the gaping plot holes. "I don't want to survive; I want to live!" Yay Earth. Eve teaches Wall-e how to say her name, and right in the middle of the movie Maggie cried out "eee-vuh!" So cute. We took a picnic dinner to the park that night.

Sunday after church we went up to the cabin. We were lucky enough to have water the whole time we were there. Also, we borrowed a back carrier for Maggie and went on two actual hikes! It was so much fun and it was nice to see all the pretty fall colors. Maggie enjoyed the carrier and even fell asleep in it this morning. We made her walk mostly up the road back to the cabin after our hike last night and she was cleaning up, picking up leaves off the road and putting them on the shoulder.

Last night we stayed up late playing Dominoes with John's parents, so of course Maggie woke up at 5 am. Bleh. So I'm off to bed. We're home doing church stuff/errands/piano lessons for the next few days, then off for more fun, this time in Park City!

Post-Busy Season Fun Week, Part 2: Another four-day, fun-times recap.

Tuesday: Erin was kind enough to watch Maggie all morning so that John and I could attend the temple together. Maggie had a great time borrowing some of Ember's toys and playing with Jazmine. What does Jazzy say? "woof!" of course.

Wednesday we went grocery shopping and took Maggie to storytime. Then we made some lunch and went to spend time with Grandma June. She wasn't doing very well and wouldn't let us leave until her son arrived so Maggie missed her nap for not the first or last time this week.

Thursday morning we got ready and drove to Park City. We went on a shopping spree at the outlets. I kept saying to John, "you're not spending enough" and "remember, we're saving money by being here." Sadly, the Geoffrey Beene outlet is closing. Happily, we bought piles of work clothes for John and shirt for me at 70% off there. We bought a stocking stuffer for each of us and another shirt for me and absolutely nothing for Maggie.

We stayed at Uncle Justin's condo for the low price of $5 in household products. Maggie enjoyed Meet the Numbers and John and I enjoyed our library books. We also took a long walk around the neighborhood. We went to dinner at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, A Taste of Saigon, in downtown Park City, and walked to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory where we spent $6 on dessert and let Maggie play in the bookstore. Then Maggie went to bed (she refused to nap) and John and I watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Today we lay around, went for another long walk and watched some TV. (Cable! Playhouse Disney!) Then we walked around downtown again, bought a Christmas ornament, ate lunch at Pizza Hut, cleaned up the condo and came home. This was all cleverly planned to allow Maggie to nap on the way home.

It's been nice to have John home for this week and we'll miss him when he goes back to work on Monday. I am excited for Maggie to start napping again though. She's exhausting!

Post-Busy Season Fun Week, Part 3: Once again... Saturday we dressed Maggie up as a Candy Corn Princess and took her to Boo at the Zoo. Lame! Waiting in line for candy? Tons of people and No Parking? Lame, I tell you! Not doing it again. Maggie did get to pet a snake and an opossum.

In the afternoon, since we hadn't returned the hiking carrier, we drove up to Suncrest and went hiking in Corner Canyon. This adventure was much more enjoyable. We try to take advantage of things like this nearby because you never know how long you'll be nearby. We need to get one of those hiking carriers. We went for a walk around the neighborhood to return it when we got home and Maggie talked us into taking her to the park. Sweet talker.

Last night I made a delicious pumpkin roll for dessert. It is so good that John wants me to bring it to the Trunk-or-Treat on Thursday, and also make it for Thanksgiving. I've been afraid of pumpkin rolls my whole life, but it was really easy and fast. Yum.

Today Maggie was unceremoniously left in the nursery (John waited until there were plenty of adults in there before taking her). When we peeked in after our Sunday School class she was happily playing and the report is that she sang, did some actions to the songs, and she also brought home a picture she had colored. Nursery Success! A happy day.

Bad Night: Between the practically impossible-to-remove, impossible-to-open smoke dectector with the practically impossible-to-change battery, two dirty diapers and John's phone battery dying, it was a very long night.

: I made $12.35 from people reading my articles in October. $12.35 may not sound like a lot of money, but it's money I got for doing absolutely nothing - just from people reading articles I wrote over the past year and have already been paid upfront for. Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I have some really popular Christmas articles out there so I'm hoping to make a lot the next few months. It looks like I made over $350 writing articles in the past year, and that sounds good to me.

[Comments] (1) Halloweeness: Today was Maggie's second Halloween. Last year was, let's face it, LAME, so this being her first real Halloween we did tons of fun activities.

Last night was the ward Trunk-or-Treat. We had lots of fun, but not nearly enough candy. It was standing room only for dinner, I think most of the neighborhood was there. I think we would have given out more candy last night than tonight if we'd hadn't run out. Maggie was darling in her Candy Corn Princess costume, but grumpy by the time candy-getting came around.

Today Mom and I drove to SLC and went to a party at John's work. We had delicious sugar cookies, Maggie charmed everyone, and got to decorate a pumpkin with stickers. Afterwards Mom and Jodi picked up Zupa's and came to our house for dinner and trick-or-treating.

Unfortunately, the beautiful weather we've had all week turned into rain the moment we stepped outside to take Maggie trick-or-treating. She enjoyed it though, knocking on the doors and saying "treek-or!". She was willing to carry her wand, and said thank you.

I love being in a real neighborhood with kids who came trick-or-treating! I would have liked to do more trick-or-treating, not because we need more candy but I enjoyed meeting some new neighbors. It wasn't cold, but we didn't have umbrellas on the first trip, and the second one was nearing Maggie's bedtime - and she didn't get a nap. Maybe next year when Maggie is a year older it will be even more enjoyable.

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