Maggie, tell Dalton what Chuck-e-Cheese is.
It's like Disneyland, but it's inside.

M: What are we going to do with these instruments? (ornaments)

Dalton, helping me pick out clothes for Sienna: Here's a fit out!

Dalton became obsessed with the word "Mister". It started from Mister Grinch he also noticed Mister Hooper on Sesame Street. And every other time someone says Mister. But most adorably and hilariously, he says, "Mister. What's a Mister??" all the time.

Apparently I invented a new game when I moved rooms FOUR times trying to keep Sienna away from noisy kids. Maggie asked if we can play "Quiet Time" again tomorrow. I hope not. That night she prayed in great detail about the "game." "Then mommy went to this room and I came in this room, then Mommy went to the other room..."

Sienna Stats: Here are the stats on Sienna from her 6 week appointment.

Weight: 10 lb 6 oz (55%)
Height: 23 1/4 (98%)
Head Circumferences 14 3/4 (62%)

Not only is she tall, she grew THREE INCHES since she was born! No wonder her head sticks out of the baby bjorn and her car seat straps seem low. Time to make some adjustments.

Mommy Laughing: Today after dinner, Dalton was having a "trick-or-treat". Pretty much all we have left is small packs of Nerds. I opened the pack and gave it to him, sitting at the table. He tried to pour it into his mouth, but spilled quite a few on the floor. In the split-second my mind was deciding whether or not to be mad (no - I was planning to clean the floor after bedtime anyway) he said, "I ate some."

Maggie and I found this hilarious and laughed and laughed. Maggie then tried to get me to laugh again.

Maggie: Besides spilling Nerds on the floor and saying, "I ate some" how can I make you laugh?
Me: Yeah, that isn't going to work twice. Tell me a joke.
Maggie: What drives a car, but isn't human?
Me: A chimpanzee?
Maggie: What's a chimpanzee?
Me: A really smart monkey.
Maggie: No, not a chimpanzee. A banana!
Me: .... *laughing hysterically*

It's funny because she has no idea how to tell a joke. I actually thought she was telling an actual joke from somewhere, but she just made something up. It worked though! But it didn't work twice.

[Comments] (1) What the Cracker?:

Me: There ARE crackers in your seat. What are they doing there?
Dalton: They're sleeping.

[Comments] (2) Sleep in Peace: Sienna was such a good sleeper last night. I fed her at 10 and she didn't wake up again until 6! Only problem is that she slept the rest of the day, too. She woke up at 11:30 (I had someone pick M up for school). And was up for an hour or so in the afternoon. Now she is sleeping on the floor where I put her 4 hours ago listening to me type and Daddy watch a show. I don't expect a repeat of last night, but it sure was nice to get 7 1/2 hours of sleep.

A Diaper to Remember: I blogged several days ago that Sienna had nearly slept through the night. She's continued to do so, for four nights in a row now. All the sleep is lovely, but it does come with side effects.

First, she wants to eat all the time when she is awake. Also, the abrupt change in our nursing schedule has left me with soreness that I suspect to be early signs of mastitis.

Luckily, I saw this third side effect coming and packed extra clothes for Disneyland today. No eating all night means no pooping all night, which means when she does poop - yikes.

We were just about to board a swinging gondola on Mickey's Fun Wheel when it happened. She was wearing two onesies, so it was hard to see how bad it was at first. By the time the ferris wheel had gone around once, I had a naked, crying baby face down on my lap, and her undershirt and half a pack of wipes in the motion sick bag so kindly provided.

Mind you, our car is swinging wildly this whole time. I didn't know what to hold on to: the clean clothes and diaper on the seat, the dirty bag sliding across the floor, the naked baby, the kids, or my lunch.

We managed to get her dressed on the second trip around. As we exited, Dalton picked up the white motion sick bag, with the top nicely folded down. "I bet he thinks it's donuts," I said. But he obediently put it in the trash.

John and I were both so nauseous from swinging while occupied, or maybe just the mess of it all. We didn't do many rides because of it, but luckily I was feeling well enough to use my fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers for the first time. Yay!

Sienna's second explosion happened in the car on the way home. It's a lot easier to deal with these sorts of things in the comfort of your own home than when swinging 150 feet above the ground. Especially since, by this point, a bath was clearly in order.

Nakey Boy: Dalton: I'm not nakey. I'm just going potty with no clothes on.

I Spy a Silly Boy: A couple Dalton funnies from this week.

We visited John at work for lunch one day. The next day we got on the freeway as if going to Daddy's work, but got off and headed in the opposite direction.
D: Let's play I spy. I go first. I spy something that's big and tall and it's Daddy's work. I spy a eat lunch and it's Daddy's work. I spy a drink of water and it's Daddy's work. I spy a treat and a poptart and it's Daddy's work. (He got a treat and a granola bar when we went).
Etc. So cute!

D: Are these socks clean?
Me: No, they're dirty. We need to wash them, then they'll be clean and you can wear them again.
Next thing I know, Dalton is in the bathroom washing his socks in the sink! I explained that Mommy washes clothes in the washing machine and that's what "laundry" is. Apparently, I usually just say "laundry" rather than washing clothes. He seriously thought we had to go wash his socks.

Another I Spy.
M, not wanting to play: I spy nothing.
D: Is it a bus?

Travel Bug: This post has been a long time coming. Lately, John and I have both had the beginnings of an itch to go somewhere. I'm wondering if these two of my highest desires conflict: one being home and the other being travel. I've decided not because at the root of it all is my family. John recalled a recent talk my L. Tom Perry where he quoted a letter he wrote to his mother saying, "You and Dad were never going on vacations alone. The family was always with you." Home is where the heart is. And I do like to drag my family all around the world (my easy-going personality makes that actually fun instead of miserable). And if we have more kids, we'll drag them. And when we have grand babies, we'll give them the opportunity. And when we're old and gray and have only each other, we'll be one of those adorable couples getting terrific use out of their Senior Pass to the National Parks, and working at Disney World.

I don't know where I'm going with this. The expiration of our Disney passes is just around the corner. We looked into some things for our trip to San Diego this summer and that helped. We are also planning a trip up the coast and to Yosemite to meet John's family. But it's not quite scratching that itch. From Tom Waits' song Shiver Me Timbers: My body's at home, but my heart’s in the wind

A few travel quotes I've collected:

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St. Augustine

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by. – Robert Frost

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

Not all those who wander are lost. – J. R. R. Tolkien

Travellers never think that they are the foreigners. – Mason Cooley

There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander! - Brahmann

Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken. - Frank Herbert

A few India specific travel quotes:

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. –Lao Tzu

Embrace the detours. - Kevin Charbonneau

When overseas you learn more about your own country, than you do the place you're visiting. - Clint Borgen

The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it. – Rudyard Kipling

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect. – Paul Theroux

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. - James A. Michener

Three Times the Fun: Being a mom of three agrees with me. I don't think I've ever been so organized as a mom (for more than a few days at a time, at least). Sienna is a pretty easy going baby, which is nice since she gets dragged around everywhere. Poor third child.

Anyway, we can't seem to leave the house before 10 am, but I'm trying to plan ahead to keep things under control with three kids and John working late. Get dinner prepped anytime S is napping. Pack lunch for me and D if we're out so we don't spend money eating out. We even took dinner to Disneyland the last three times we went. Get Maggie's homework done early in the week. And use the evenings to catch up on everything that piled up while we were running around all day. Groceries that never got put away, piles of unfolded laundry, etc. Because it breaks my heart to wake up Sienna every time we have to go somewhere, I've been scheduling crazy days along with quiet home days.

A menu plan has been very helpful. And the crockpot. And a friend driving the kids to gymnastics. And my iphone/pinterest/calendar in the wee hours. And sometimes it requires kicking out the lazies and just doing it.

The one thing I haven't managed to get going again is activities for Dalton. He does get play dates and park time, but I miss doing crafts and activities with him. He gets far more ipad time than I'd like (even though I've found some fun educational apps), and we've taken to stopping at the park when Sienna's hungry if I know the alternative is going home and him playing on the ipad while I feed her. I can't seem to get him interested in toys very long, so I need to sit down and do stuff with him.

Ambitious: A stranger called me ambitious today. "ambitious" is not a word anyone who knows me (including myself) would use to describe me. But in context, taking my three young kids to Disneyland by myself, I'll take it!

Said in the last 5 minutes:
Cheese is not a vegetable.

It doesn't count as exercise if you're the weight.

Stop eating your pants!

A Bad News Sandwich: Dalton made up some poignant and fitting words to I am a Child of God as he sang. "Don't forget me. I can't go home without you."

The contacts on my phone mysteriously disappeared. I looked for a delete all button and couldn't see one so I don't know how it happened. But the disappearance of two Angry Birds apps on the iPad was not mysterious and was in fact accompanied by much screaming, crying, and yelling (respectively) and a time out and two days of no iPad for Dalton. It was actually nice to see him play with toys for a change.

The other night, Dalton prayed about not getting a piggy back ride. What!? We can't have that. I put Sienna in bed and went back in the kids' room to surprise him with a quick ride. He was thrilled. "I love you forever and ever, Mommy." I love you, too, sweet boy.

At Disneyland this week, Dalton made friends with two Chinese girls. He narrated Pirates for them which, other than being cute, was useless as I only heard them say seven words in English: be careful, the end, thank you and picture? Picture? Of course! They seemed really surprised I let them. On the tram, he deliberately cuted at two more Chinese girls across from us. What a flirt.

And from a recent Facebook status: Dalton, I love that you're friendly, but I'm going to draw the line at playing Angry Birds on a stranger's phone at the park.

My Baby This Week: Sienna is getting so big already. She's learned how to talk and makes such adorable noises. It's especially cute when she is falling asleep in my arms and practically coos in her sleep.

She can also hold her head up really well, finally, and enjoys sitting in her bumbo. She also likes her bouncer, and has discovered her reflection in the mirror that hangs above it. She is still a good sleeper. Most nights it's at least 7 hours, sometimes quite a bit more.

She's grown into her 3-6 month clothes, and out of her size 1 diapers (with much aplomb. I think I need to give up trying to use up all the size 1 because I'm tired of hand washing her clothes).

Teamwork: I was amazed at our family getting ready this morning. I'd say I don't know how single parents do it, but I manage to do the bedtime thing without John when he is working. Maggie is a huge help in this area.

This morning, I took Maggie into her room so she wouldn't wake up Dalton (who was in our bed). John played iPad with Dalton when he woke up, and Maggie joined them. I fed Sienna. John took a shower then entertained Sienna while I got the kids dressed and fed and unloaded the dishwasher. I took a shower and fed Sienna again while John played with the kids and got the diaper bag ready. Somewhere in there we both practiced the piano.

I guess it's not as complicated as it seemed at the time. We made it to church nice and early, since I was playing the organ. John went home to get his tie (oops) and Sienna proceeded to grump most the rest of the day until we finally got her in bed at 6:30. Except for a random 45 minutes she sat contentedly on Amy's lap. Hmm.

Date Night: John and I were lucky enough to go to California Adventure by ourselves last night. No kids! I counted, and we've been over 100 times since we last went to Disneyland without kids. Which was before we had kids.

We got fast passes to Soarin' over California, and waited in line for Tower of Terror and the single rider line for Radiator Springs Racers. Those three rides (and free chocolate at Ghiradelli) were all we were able to do with our time, but they are things we haven't be able to do together. It was fun to be out together.

Missionary Work: Our ward has been harping on the 2013 mission plan. Whatever. The Elders like to stop by occasionally. We are boring and usually let them in to talk. We asked the Elders in one of their pop-in visits if there were any neighbors in our ward and they gave us a couple names. So, the kids made some Valentines and we delivered them. We had a nice talk with a single guy. The older couple wasn't home.

I was really surprised when the Elders stopped by today. Not surprised that they stopped by, though Sienna was crying and I was making dinner and I didn't let them in. But surprised that they came to tell us that the couple in our neighborhood was at church today! Since I was playing the organ and my name was in the program, they even asked if that was me, their neighbor who had left treats and kid-made Valentines because John has brilliant ideas like that (it was). Hurray!

I took Maggie with me to visit/meet a girl I visit teach. She has a daughter Maggie's age and a baby just a couple days older than Sienna. We took them some chocolate-caramel covered pretzels. I hope she comes to park day (or, you know, church) because more friends is fun.

Best IKEA Trip Ever: Our crystal dishes have started breaking in the microwave (oops!) so that finally sent me to IKEA to pick up some things that have been on my list a long time. Long enough that Dalton is finally tall enough for the play place! He was sooo excited to go with his big sister. I was surprised how not-crowded it was for a Tuesday and wondered if they had stopped doing free kid's meals on Tuesdays, but they still do.

Sienna took a nap and the kids played while I shopped. It turned out to be cheaper to buy an entirely new set of dishes than to buy individual plates to match the bowls I bought a while ago. I also bought a giant bag for beach stuff, a shelf for the kids' room (for Maggie's clothes), and a little tea strainer for John's apple cider.

I picked the kids up and we ate lunch. The only downside to this event is that they stopped carrying root beer. Sad. The kids played in the two other play areas while I fed Sienna, then we went home in very little traffic, Dalton bragging about his first time in the play place the whole way.

Random Bits of Today: Got up at 4 something with Sienna. Fed her and went back to bed. I had a hard time going back to sleep, but I was asleep when she woke up at 6. I changed her dirty diaper and took her back to my bed to nurse her back to sleep, which I hardly ever do, because I was so tired. Another dirty diaper. I got her dressed and put her back in her own bed. She finally went back to sleep, and she actually slept the rest of the morning. Got the kids ready, and I got some good work done in the morning. Woke Sienna up in time to take Maggie to school. It started raining. A good Samaritan took Maggie into the class for me so we could hurry back to the car with Sienna. Dalton sat on the front seat with my phone while I fed Sienna in the car. And changed a dirty diaper. And her outfit. And another dirty diaper.

We headed to Target where I got some great deals. I got 10 boxes of cereal for about $9, a huge bottle of ketchup for free, and a bag of Valentine's candy on clearance. I also price-matched the owl bin for Maggie's clothes that was out of stock online. After Target we went to Costco. There were a few snacks, but we ate some Valentine's Day candy in the car, because the line for lunch at Costco was too long. Sienna made it through Costco in the carrier but fell asleep as we were getting to the car. In the rain. We drove to Walmart and I left her in the carseat because she was really asleep by that point, and also because it was raining this whole time. In and out of the car in the rain with both kids. Bleh.

We got home with enough time to bring in the groceries (Dalton is a good helper with that, except he piles it all in the doorway and then how do we get in?), shove the perishables in their places, and feed Sienna before we had to pick Maggie up from school. Oh, and change two more dirty diapers. And eat a piece of chocolate.

We picked Maggie up from school, in a lucky break in the rain. Though this time Sienna was wearing fleece pants and a fleece hoodie and a big fluffy blanket. I made the kids a snack (lunch for Dalton, really, though he never did eat it). Got Sienna down for another nap. Maggie did homework. I did some laundry and cleaned the kitchen and got dinner prepped. Smart mommies do two-handed dinner prep while babies are sleeping, even if they are very tired and would rather take a nap.

We had a delicious dinner of copycat Zupa's Wisconsin Cauliflower soup, and rosemary olive oil bread from Costco. Dalton was not impressed. He ate a piece of bread, which was basically all he ate all day that wasn't 99.9% sugar. Maggie was thrilled, though, and John and I both were happy with it. Yum. I miss Zupa's.

Dalton and Sienna had baths after dinner and John came home. I put the laundry away and got to enjoy my baby some more while Daddy enjoyed the iPad with the kids. Just relaxed once the kids are in bed. Now I get to go to bed! Sienna sleeps through the night about half the time. I hope tonight is the other half.

Sienna at 3 Months: Sienna is three months old already! I feel like her babyhood is slipping away so quickly. Even by six weeks she was already so big. This week Sienna has brought her hands together, worked on sitting up on her own and started showing interest in toys. She puts her hands in her mouth. She likes to suck on her fists and sometimes a couple of fingers. This is making swaddling less effective but she is still sleeping pretty well.

She almost always sleeps at least 6 hours at night. She usually goes to bed around seven. I wake her up at ten to eat and most nights she wakes up at either four or seven. Nap times aren't working out as well but we are slowly figuring out something. Nap at nine and eleven (before and after school drop off) and again around three. The afternoon one is iffy though and sometimes the afternoons and evenings she is just a mess.

Sienna has a little bald spot on the back of her head. I think Dalton did also. Her hair is really growing in well though, unlike Maggie's comb-over. She thinks the kids are hilarious and especially likes Maggie. She will laugh and play with them, following them around the room with her eyes. Maggie is a great big sister and sings and takes care of Sienna for me sometimes. She is growing on Dalton who loves to say, "She gave me a 'mile'!"

I bought baby food today. I had a coupon, so I went ahead and used it for the one pouch. Not sure where baby food is going to fit in my cupboards. So crazy to think she can be eating food in a couple months. She is finally getting to be a more efficient nurser, other than the ten PM feeding. We nurse on the go a lot, in the car between errands etc.

Round Trip: Today we went to Disneyland. (hah! No, we really did! Seriously! Only the 62nd time on these passes. Gah.) Anyway. Yes. It was lots of fun. We got some awesome pictures with Star Wars characters. Maggie and I went on Space Mountain together. I couldn't believe it when I realized she had her hands up! Crazy girl. She is so big. I think I might cry when she turns 6 in ONE WEEK.

Speaking of Maggie turning six, we are having a Lego birthday party for her. I'm not going all out like I've done in the past. I don't want to be overwhelmed, so I'm keeping it simple. We made Lego invites, and we're making Lego plates and a Lego cake. I ordered little Lego sets for each kid, and Maggie wanted to do Lego coloring pages. That's it.

Sienna was great. She was up most of the day, though she slept nearly all day Thursday. Crazy Girl #2. She slept over 12 hours last night, because I didn't wake her up around 10 like I usually do. She was interested in the rides, scoping out heffalumps and woozles and twirling in tea cups.

Guess I'd better write about Dalton. We are putting effort into nighttime potty training, with a pair of Angry Birds pajamas on deck as a reward. The kids are obsessed with Angry Birds. All Maggie wants for her birthday is an Angry Birds t-shirt. We couldn't find a cute one, so she is getting PJs too, instead.

So, if you want to get Maggie a gift for her birthday, I recommend an iTunes gift card. Because they've beaten every Angry Birds level and it's time to move on.

Tickle Me Sienna: Sienna started being ticklish this week. It only seems to work once at a time. She's laughed at my when I tickled her feet, under her arms, her chunky thighs, and stroked her adorable cheeks. Her laugh is even gruntier than Dalton's was. I love that snuggly girl.

Out of the Mouth of Dalton:
Me: Who has gymnastics today!
Dalton: The Pumpkin King do. I do. That's me, the Pumpkin King. Because I was Jack in the book because I had a Jack apple. (The book in the Animation building at DCA, and it tells you which character you are most like. Dalton was Jack Skellington, right after he picked out a Jack caramel apple for a treat.)

5 minutes later, he interrupted a story I was telling about baby Dalton. "I were a gril baby." Sure you were, boy.

More Dalton Mouth:
Me: I like Daddy.
Dalton: I like Daddy, too.
Me: I like Daddy, three.
Dalton: I like Daddy, four!
Me: I like Daddy a million.
Dalton: I like Daddy a fleeceman (policeman).

Early Bird Day: Maggie was on the early bird schedule today because the school was doing a jog-a-thon fundraiser. Ironically, we were not very early birds this morning. John woke Maggie up and took her to school at 8:15. Dalton and I snuggled in bed, and once Sienna got up, we headed over to the jog-a-thon to cheer Maggie on. I didn't realize this was a big thing, but apparently it was. So I'm glad I decided (at 5 am when I was up with Sienna) to go.

I had to park down the street at the park. So we walked to school while I nursed Sienna and Dalton ate his breakfast of fruit snacks, wearing Maggie's My Little Pony jacket from the car. Don't judge. Right after we got there they announced only 5 minutes of running left. Maggie ran 37 laps on the little track they had made. Her face was pink, but she was proud of herself. Afterwards, the kids had popsicles and I chatted with some moms. Then we walked back to the car.

We did a quick grocery shopping trip after this. In fact, we got home from the grocery store at the same time I normally get home taking Maggie to school. Since we were only getting a few things I let Dalton get a little "Dalton-sized" grocery cart. He loved pushing it around.

I fed Sienna again and made lunch and got half of dinner ready. Then we picked up Maggie at school and headed to Disneyland. I wanted to take advantage of the early day to have more time there on a weekday. We had a good time. Small World was open again, and we also got to attend the Annual Passport preview of the new Princess Fantasy Faire thingy. We waited in line a few minutes to see Ariel, Aurora and Cinderella, then we sat in the theater and ate lunch and saw Belle and Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. Ariel asked Maggie what her favorite part of her ride was. "What's your favorite part?" is Maggie's favorite question, so I laughed out loud when she said this.

Then we came home and had a delicious salad for dinner and Mickey cake pops for dessert.

Proud Moments: Today started off with Dalton's 10th dry diaper since we made him a new sticker chart. This earned him a new pair of pajamas - Space Angry Birds pajamas. (For the record, when Dalton potty trained himself a year ago, he was also dry at night, but that stopped when we moved. Boo.)

Then, at gymnastics we heard the bell ring and looked up to see that it was Maggie! She showed off her new "trick" for everyone, a forward roll on the bar. Ironically, I have a series of pictures of her doing this at her last gymnastics class, but since that class was a make-up, she didn't have her regular coach. The coach told me and her that if she works hard and practices at home building up her arm strength, she will probably get to move up the next time they do evaluations. So, Maggie came home and practiced in the living room for half an hour. I caught a glace of one of her cartwheels and was very impressed! She also always wins the "quiet contest" in gymnastics class, and I think she's brought a star student certificate the last four classes in a row.

Not to leave Dalton out, he has gotten the hand-foot placement of the cartwheel down. There's just not much wheeling involved yet. He's great on the trampoline, though! One of the things his class does is kick bean bags off the balance beam as they walk, and he's great at that.

Very proud of my kids today.

[Comments] (1) Proud Moments Part 2: I forgot to mention that on Sunday Dalton gave his first Primary talk. It was So. Adorable. He read the 3rd Article of Faith and said, "I know Jesus loves me and I love Him." That's it. He spoke clearly, right into the microphone (he does get a bit of practice with this in the chapel when I'm practicing the organ).

Maggie has been memorizing the Articles of Faith. She already knows four of them. The easy four, of course, but she is able to memorize them pretty well.

Good, Better, Best: The Relief Society lesson today was on becoming perfect. A lot of it was on not worrying about being perfect in this life and the atonement. But some of it was on doing our best. I didn't share this but I was thinking about an experience this week and decided to blog it instead.

I knew a few weeks ago that I would be playing the organ in church today. The last time I played, my lack of practice showed so this time I played the songs regulaly over the few weeks. One of them (God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand) had a few bass notes I couldn't reach with my hand so I decided to go to the church, practice on the organ and play those notes on the manual pedals. So I did.

This led to the discovery that the other ward has a badminton club -yay! But anyway, one of the ladies mentioned her lack of musicality when I explained I wasn't actually the organist, but wanted to try using the pedals. She said, "that's great that you're still working on it, even though it's good enough."

She's right. I do a lot of things that are good enough. But I need to be doing better, or even (!!!) my best. Today I did.

Side note: let's hope the lack of regular organists was so I could learn this lesson. I think we might actually have some good, reliable organists now!

Sienna at 4 Months: Sienna's 4 month appointment was this week. She is 26.5", 90th percentile. Very tall! In the mother's room today, we stood her next to her friend Valentine (8 months) and they are the same height. She is 60% in weight at 14 lbs 10 oz.

She slept completely through the night 5 of the last 6 nights. I stopped waking her up to eat around 10:00, so I've been going to bed earlier, which is nice. I like feeding her at night, because sometimes that's the only chance I get to feed her snuggled in the rocking chair, all comfy with our pillows etc. But we are both getting more sleep, and she clearly didn't need that feeding.

She puts her hands in her mouth, and sometimes sucks her fingers or thumb when she is going to sleep. She also likes to bring toys to her mouth, and really likes having a toy in the car. Her favorite at the moment is the Skwish. This week she rolled over onto her back the first couple of times. I don't put her on her tummy enough, or she might have done it earlier.

She still thinks Maggie is hilarious. She giggles if I pretend to eat her tummy, and sometimes if I tickle her legs or under her arms. More of a grunt than a giggle, but clearly a laugh. She gets excited to see her daddy. She and Dalton continue to grow on each other. He's going to be a great big brother once he gets around to it.

[Comments] (1) Star of the Week: Maggie was the "Star of the Week" last week at school. On Monday, she took a poster we had made with pictures of baby Maggie, our family, Maggie in India, Maggie at Disneyland, etc. She filled out some star topic starters with things like: "My goal is to go to the next level in gymnastics." "One thing I like about myself is I'm smart." "I am good at reading."

On Tuesday, she took on of her Angry Birds drawings to show her hobby. I think she took one John drew as well, since she likes to draw with him.

Wednesday, she took the certificate she got for ringing the bell at gymnastics.

Thursday was favorite book. She took a book called Doggies and her teacher read it to the class.

Friday she took her little Piglet as her favorite toy.

[Comments] (1) Sienna's Blessing/Easter/Spring Break in Utah: Links are for pictures!
Day 1: We planned to leave after school on Friday. Maggie woke up throwing up and didn't end up going to school. But by that point, John (who was also sick) had to go in to work for a meeting. So we didn't leave much earlier than planned. Traffic was awful and we had to stop a lot to feed Sienna. About 90 minutes into the trip, we decided to fly in December. We ordered room service at the hotel instead of going to a buffet as planned. This saved us a lot of money, especially since the buffet wouldn't have been worth it with John sick. We went to bed super early.

Day 2: Saturday was slightly better. There wasn't any traffic at least. Sienna cried more and we had to stop three times for her. A dirty diaper and outfit change at every stop. We arrived in the early evening and I went to pick up Zupa's for dinner.

Day 3: On Easter, we got up early and went to Sacrament Meeting. It was really an enjoyable meeting. The kids enjoyed all their new Angry Birds stuff they got for Easter. Angry Birds hats, socks, shirts, maze books, a blanket for Dalton. They also each got a Lego set and an Easter book.

The family all came and John gave Sienna a blessing. She was quite older than babies usually are and just sat there being darling. She wore my blessing dress and looked like a chubby little doll.

We had Easter dinner, and a not-egg hunt for the kids. I made eggs for the kids to find, but no one else did. Our kids were a tiny bit disappointed because I hadn't made eggs for them, but they got lots of other stuff.

Day 4: On Monday we went to the cabin with John's parents. It was rainy and cold, but it was fun to go up there. On the way home, we stopped to meet new baby Franco. So sweet. We had dinner at Jon and Sharon's on Monday night. The kids loved playing with the doggies. They came running in saying, "We got to feed the dogs!" They were giving them treats to do their tricks. Maggie really got into dogs on this trip, which was fun to see. Also, dinner was delicious.

Day 5: We spent most of Tuesday at Tasha's, hanging out with Colette, Madeline and Emmett. The kids had a great time. Maggie arranged a fun game of "Disneyland." They slid around the room riding it's a small world, walked over to California Adventure to ride Ariel, and screaming in delight on the Haunted Mansion. We went to Brook and Erin's for dinner. The kids were happy to see Jetta and Jazzy. We had hamburgers with donuts for dessert, and played a game of Taboo. Dalton was pretty good at Taboo, randomly shouting and repeating things that we were saying. My favorite quote of the night, though, was from Maggie. She sat down to eat a few more bites of hamburger before having some donut. She picked off the cheese I had put on her burger and brought it over to me stating, "I HATE this cheese!" quite vehemently. "It's gross."

Day 6: We lounged around on Wednesday morning, then met Brook, Erin, Ember, Jetta, Jamie and Mary for a hike in the afternoon. We hiked in Corner Canyon to Ghost Falls. It was a really nice hike. We spent almost two hours hiking and enjoying the small waterfalls. Maggie hiked almost the entire way on her own. Dalton didn't do as well. I think he was carried almost the entire way back to the car. But that was probably mostly because he could: Uncle Brook was willing to have a turn. After the hike, we stopped by our/Jamie's house, then headed to Jodi and Franco's for dinner and cousin time.

Day 7: We headed home on Thursday about noon. The drive up was so awful that we decided not to try to drive straight through. We stopped twice in Utah. Another gas station, another outfit change. In one place, there was a spot of grass for the kids to run around on. A fire truck stopped, and gave them coloring books which occupied them for a bit more. We stayed overnight in the Hilton Suits Vacation Club in Las Vegas. The hotel was SO nice. It had a real, full kitchen, a soaking tub, and a little overpriced market downstairs. We got sandwiches for dinner, breakfast sandwiches and chocolate milk for breakfast in the market, and enjoyed the tub.

Day 8: Finally a good driving day. There was no traffic, Sienna slept the whole way and we only had to stop once. The place we stopped actually had an open play place, so the kids got some energy out. We got home around 2 and had plenty of time to get unpacked, wash the car, do some laundry, and even enjoy being outside and doing the kids' new bubbles they got for Easter.

Spring: Four hours of General Conference is probably only slightly less church stuff than we do on a regular Sunday. But we managed to do a LOT today! We went swimming (Sienna's first time in the pool). We did bubbles and "flew" kites in front of our house. Dalton and John did scootering in the driveway. Maggie helped me organize the pantry. I rotated the food in our 72-hour kits. We all went to the park and played basketball. Maggie practiced doing the monkey bars and made it all the way across for the first time. Yay! She has been practicing for gymnastics and I think she'll be excited to tell her coach tomorrow.

The kids start swimming lessons this week. Our ward FHE in the park begins tomorrow. I've stopped panicking about the lack of long-sleeved onesies in Sienna's wardrobe. We had a colony of bees removed from our eaves. I bought myself some pants that fit - capris.

Spring is here.

These Socks Be Folded:
Me: Why are you folding your socks when you put them in the dirty laundry?
Maggie: Because that bees easier!

While I laughed about her saying "bees", she corrected herself, and then continued to insist that it was easier to have her socks already folded into each other before being washed. That's what I get for making her sort her own laundry to put away, I guess.

M: What's your third favorite? ... What is your fourd favorite? (I could NOT stop laughing at this)

Where are the finger muppets?

[Comments] (1) : Here are some of the cute things Dalton says and does at 3 1/2. If you (my 3 blog readers! or maybe my future self) want to put a smile on your face, read this post. He. Is. Adorable.

M: When it's scratch paper, it'll be blabby blobby.
D: We don't say those words.

Dalton is always very impressed when Sienna smiles at him and he says, "She gave me a mile!"

Am I a man or a muffet? I want to be a muffet.

Me: Do you want to walk or drive to school?
Dalton: Drive. Walking is not easy. (He always thinks I mean WALK though we've never not taken the stroller.

I explained to Dalton that some babies (like Maggie) spit up a lot and some babies (like Sienna) don't spit up much at all. He said, "Baby Jesus didn't spit at all."

Some cute word mispronunciations:
grils (girls)
nest (net - as in basketball)
Newtah (Utah)
Posco (Costco - this is where he usually pretends he's going in his ride-on car, or where Alligator is going if he's hanging around)
cramra (camera)
beebee (nickname for baby)

One of the most adorable things Dalton is doing right now is kissing himself better. I laughed out loud when he tried to kiss his elbow after bumping his funny bone on the table. If he can't reach, he kisses his fingers and gives the kiss to his owie.

He has renamed his stuffed alligator Swampy after the character in "Where's My Water?" This has been his favorite "guy" for a long time. The other stuffie he currently sleeps with is a stuffed deer from Aunt Erin.

Me: Don't lick Maggie's homework.

He put on a pair of shorts I got out for the warm weather: "What! There's pockets." He walked out of the room mumbling to himself, "I need to find something to put in beese pockets." I don't like you when you die. Are you going to die soon?

New Clothes: I am pretty excited about what I wore yesterday. On Saturday we bought a shirt at Disneyland that I've been eyeing since last summer. It's grey and pink - my two favorite colors to wear. It's long over my hips and the neckline isn't low. Meaning, I don't have to wear a tank top under it. And, it's a Disneyland shirt, so yay.

Additionally, my one pair of pants was in the laundry and it looked too cold to wear my new cropped pants. So I tried on a pair of my regular jeans and ended up wearing them with my maternity stretchy band since I couldn't button them. And my friend, Amy, said I looked skinny.

Today I hot glued the black band onto my hat. The black band that came off in India. Two years ago. The hat I bought on clearance for $4 at Old Navy in 2003. Yay!

Roll With Me 'Nenna: Sienna learned how to roll onto her tummy this week. Once she started, she hasn't stopped. Once she even kept on rolling all the way to her back (and almost right off the bed, but of course I was sitting next to her). She is SO ridiculously proud of herself, too. She giggles about it. And she thinks she is ready to crawl. She kicks like crazy, and can lift her entire bottom half off the ground.

Of course, she wasn't too thrilled when she rolled onto her tummy while she was supposed to be going to sleep. The first time, she then had a dirty diaper and leaked onto her sheets. Today when she did it, I turned her back over and she went right to sleep.

My baby is so big. She is bigger than my other babies, which is part of it, but part of it is knowing that it might be our last (sniff) and trying to enjoy every minute of her littleness. She's got adorable chunks all over and I love hearing her giggle when she's tickled. And she has a fat roll on just one of her thighs - her left. Love baby fat.

[Comments] (1) She Needs to Sort Out Her Priorities: This morning, Maggie completely ignored my indication that it was time to start her get-ready-for-school routine.

Me: I guess you aren't going to school.
Maggie: *gasp!* But how will I know when it's time for gymnastics??!?

A Good Mom for Maggie: This week I made a goal to be a better mom to Maggie. More patience, less yelling, supporting and uplifting her rather than discouraging. Focus on the positive. All that sort of thing. A few days later I read a talk from the most recent General Conference that talked about mothering daughters.

Young women need mothers and mentors who exemplify virtuous womanhood. Mothers, your relationship with your daughter is of paramount importance, and so is your example. (2013 April General Conference, We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father, Sat. Morning Session - By Elaine S. Dalton)

I spend a lot of time trying to get Maggie to do things - necessary things. Eating, bathing, getting dressed, homework. Asking, reminding, nagging, yelling. She is a sensitive thing, and she is in her own world a lot of the time and she Does Not Listen. She is very rarely disobedient. Just clueless. I've specifically told her she needs to do what I ask immediately, not because it's urgent, but because if she runs around the room first (and she always does) she forgets what I've asked her to do!

Anyway, I'm focusing on the impact my words will have on her tiny, precious spirit and hoping that thought guides me to be a better mother to her. I want a close relationship with her, so it's better start now.

In addition to just generally being more patient, I tried to make food that she liked and I didn't criticize her clothing choices (I was really glad I had an excuse to ask her to change into pants on Wednesday...), tried not to pick on her for being mean and bossy to her brother. And when I did pick on her, I did it nicely. Also, a big focus on saying positive things to her. Noticing when she listens, telling her I'm proud of her, pointing out her good traits and habits.

Maggie brought home a paper from school where she wrote about being smart. I love that girl.

The Little Things: I've been trying to focus on doing the little things with the kids (Particularly Dalton, whom I'm with all day), things I'm usually too "busy" or impatient for, or too bored, but that mean a lot to the kids. The kid version of stopping to smell the roses. In fact, we did stop to look at some flowers one day. Other things we did:

Let Dalton try some light-up toys at the souvenir stand at Disneyland.
Built a pillow house.
Hid under the covers and yelled Boo! to scare the monsters away.
Got the slide out.
Made lunches more appealing (muffin tin meal style, sprinkles, dippers etc)
Busted out the fingerpaints.
Paid for the full version of an iPad game the kids love but have been playing the free version for 6 months. Now they can do A-Z instead of A-E...
Played with shaving cream.

Sick Sunday: Today after church I started feeling really sick. I had actually been nauseous all morning. John to the kids to the park for two hours while I slept. Sienna slept too. I tried to make beef stroganoff for dinner but I only got the meat cooked and the noodles made. John came home just in time as I fed Sienna. He made frozen burritos for dinner and put the half-made stroganoff away. After another rest I felt well enough to help get the kids in bed. I hope tomorrow looks up. I'm keeping some water down.

Both of the kids passed off the fifth Article of Faith today. Dalton is so adorable when he says them, but he is too silly on camera so far. He got the fifth one word for word except he says "authorisGod" instead of authority.

I got to listen to bits and pieces of church, as happens with a baby. The organist forgot, so I helped fill in the closing hymn. In the meantime, I fed S in the mother's room where I could hear the talks. She went to sleep and I handed her off to a Good Samaritan so I could run in and play the organ. She continued sleeping while I gave an organ lesson. She was awake when I popped in for the last five minutes of Sunday School. My friend Stephanie held her while I got a brief message about seeking the Lord's will.

I spent most of Relief Society trying to get her to sleep, and then feeding her again. I made it in for the last 15 minutes, where she behaved (other than a noisy dirty diaper toward the end) and I got to hear Lorenzo Snow's opinions on following the Spirit (I think).

Also, someone told me they really appreciated the closing hymn (I'm in charge of picking the songs) and that it fit well and was inspired. I think I was successful at my calling today.

Busy at Home: I had a very productive morning. I took the kids to the grocery store to get a flower for teacher appreciation, but we ended up using one cut from outside out house. I picked up a deal on some dishwasher gel pacs while I was there. Then we went next door and got some doughnuts. A lady told me I was Mom of the Year because my three children were so well-behaved. They are really good kids.

After we took Maggie to school, I got to work cleaning the house. We did one load of laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, organized in the garage etc. I did lots of work while Sienna took a nap.

Dalton and I were eating lunch when I realized it was time to go get Maggie. We had to wake up Sienna and run out the door with our lunch on the table. Then we rushed home, ate, and got ready for swimming lessons. Maggie is working on swimming the length of the pool (including the deep end) with her instructor 10 feet away. Dalton is working on doing two roll overs (breaths) on his own. He used to be able to do that, but has fallen back. Both of them need more practice to be able to keep their skills up outside of their lessons. Maggie never swims as well for us.

After swimming we did homework and cleaned up. Then we went to McDonald's and the play place for dinner, since I knew John would be late. Sienna didn't take another nap, so she was grumpy, but she didn't go to sleep and life moved on. When we got home, Dalton took a bath, Sienna went to bed, and we read two stories. Dalton picked The Sleepy Little Alphabet, one of the kids' favorites, and we read a story from The Book of Mormon picture book.

John texted just in time that he was coming home, so he got to snuggle the kids before bed. I worked on the baby sling I am making.

DCA with the Kids: We went to Disneyland yesterday, even though I didn't want to. I'm glad I did, because it was even hotter today! The kids talked me into California Adventure, and once again, I was glad, because Disneyland was apparently crowded.

We parked on the roof, which they were excited about, then went first to Mickey's Fun Wheel. After waiting in line a few minutes, I determined that Dalton needed to go the restroom. As we exited to take him, the lady behind me said she'd hold my spot if they were still there when we came back. Sure enough, when we got back in line, she jumped up and down and waved and insisted we get back up in the line with them (which saved us 15 minutes+). She said it was because she had noticed Dalton's painted toenails and it reminded her of her grandson!

After that we went on King Triton's Carousel (Sienna rode on a sea creature for the first time), Ariel, and to the Redwoods playplace so I could feed Sienna. The kids stayed in the little kid area and checked-in. Finally, we went on Monster's Inc, got cake pops and headed home.

I had prepped some yummy chicken enchiladas, so they were all ready to bake when we got home.

Accomplished: Maggie made it to level 4 in swimming lessons. This means she can swim 25 yards with the instructor 10 feet away. They also started working on backstroke, and today showed her how to dive in for the first time. I'm so proud of her. Now, if only I can get her to swim like that for us!

Dalton got his first Star Student note at gymnastics. It says, "for good listening and trying his best." It was the evaluation day, and he said he did everything the coach told him to do. He was pretty proud, since Maggie has brought several of those notes. He's a good little gymnast!

Sienna laughs if you blow lightly in her face. It takes a second for her to register it. She's also just generally adorable. Dimply cheeks and chubby legs. That's my girl.

Double Disney Day: John was headed to a client's this afternoon, so he decided to take Dalton to Disneyland this morning, to try to get him on some more new rides (the last of them). They were at the gates at California Adventure when it opened and got in line for Radiator Springs Racers with only a 25 minute wait. Dalton was a little scared, but loved it.

Then they went on Tower of Terror. That height measurer must be a little taller, because this is the only ride we've had trouble getting Dalton on (keep in mind, he has napkins stuffed into his shoes). Anyway, they let him on. Here's what he had to say to me when he walked in the door this afternoon: "I went on the one that goes up and down fast and it made my tummy bad." Yeah, it makes my tummy bad, too. John said he was practically convulsing because he was so scared. Well. That's over with then.

I am taking all three kids to Disneyland after school. Only a couple more days left on our passes. It's almost a relief, to have my life back. Almost. I might cry when it's over.

Update: Disneyland didn't quite go as planned, but we had fun in the end. We waited in line to see Mickey. It was about half an hour. Sienna filled up her diaper and got her outfit, the sling and me all wet. I changed her really quick on the floor, and got a clean onesie on her, but her clean pants were in the stroller, so she is nakey legged in the pictures.

We went on Casey Jr, Pirates, Winnie the Pooh, and the Haunted Mansion. Sienna finally crashed on the Haunted Mansion. Then we got an ice cream and walked over to get a spot for the parade the kids really wanted to see one more time. We waited about half an hour for the parade. Maggie was dancing around and woke up Sienna, but it was just as well because the loud parade music startled her. At least she was already awake. She has a cold, so she was pretty unhappy, but not crying. I think she was content to be held in the sling all day. We made it home by 8:30 and everyone went straight to bed.

All Done Disney: We went first thing this morning to California Adventure. We were there when it opened and got in line for Radiator Springs Racers. Right after John and the kids got off, the ride shut down. So I didn't get to go, but at least they did. We took turns on Soarin' Over California, then went to Disneyland. John tried to take the kids on Star Tours, but they would not let Dalton on. So instead, I used a Rider Switch pass from last weekend to take them on Space Mountain. Of course the ride broke just before we got on. It was just backed up, but it took 20+ minutes for them to reset. During that time Dalton un-psyched himself out and he did not want to go. I made him get on, though. We also waited in line for Casey Jr. just before they had some engine trouble. Ugh!

After that, we went to the Jedi Training Academy. The kids finally got picked - yay! They were so cute in their robes with their training light sabers. Maggie was really focused and did a great job. Dalton had a hard time, but tried his best. Unfortunately, he got pretty scared when Darth Vader arrived. He didn't want to go fight him, and he ended up coming back to sit with us. They still gave him a certificate though. Maggie showed her skills in fighting Darth Vader. I'm really proud of her.

We let the kids each pick one more ride. We waited in line for Alice in Wonderland for Maggie, then John took the kids on Haunted Mansion while I fed Sienna. If you're counting, Alice is the only ride Sienna went on today. John and the kids also went up in Tarzan's Treehouse. Then we took the train all the way around Disneyland and said goodbye.

John is planning to take Dalton one last time on Monday morning, but since we have gymnastics after school, Maggie, Sienna and I are done. I am almost relieved. I have felt like I *need* to go to Disney rather than doing other fun things, and it is a lot of work. Having a hot, disappointing day was a good way to end it, but I know I will miss Disney when the weather cools and the holiday season begins. Next year!

On Being a Mom: Sick kids. Actually, we're all sick. Dalton and Sienna both went to bed when we got home from Disneyland yesterday - at 4:30. Dalton stayed in bed until nearly 10, and Sienna woke up to eat at 7 and is going on the third hour of her nap. Tired, sick kids. Dalton throwing up meant one of us had to stay home from church. John kindly agreed to play the organ, in addition to accompanying the children while singing in Sacrament Meeting, and during Primary, and helping Maggie with her Primary talk. All of which things I am missing, in addition to lunch (lunch!) during the 2nd and 3rd hours for the fanciest Visiting Teaching Conference ever.

How annoying that I have to spend Mother's Day doing throw-up laundry instead of at church where I can hear about what a great job I'm doing as a mother! I mean, how lucky am I? How lucky that I can stay home and snuggle my boy (and, presumably, my feverish baby, if she ever wakes up). Because this is what being a mom is about. Not free food (sigh) or getting to see my kids sing (or not) to me in Sacrament Meeting, or even hearing Maggie give a wonderful Primary talk. It's more about making beds and breastfeeding. More day to day than extraordinary. The key is to make the day to day something special. Excuse me while I hide from monsters with otter-pop-mustache boy.

(I can't neglect to mention that John and the kids picked out some beautiful tulips that were delivered a couple days ago. John also bought me a new shirt that I LOVE and Dove caramel chocolates (one of my favorites). How lucky is he that a stripey shirt from Target that fits well makes me quite happy?)

Suspicious: I have decided that Maggie isn't a picky eater, she's a suspicious eater. She really likes to know all the details about what I've made for dinner before she decides to refuse to even try it.

Today the Kindergarten took a field trip the farm. They got to pick and eat all the strawberries they wanted. Maggie said she ate so many her tummy hurt. "Maybe 17." They also got to try various vegetables. After describing them to me at length we determined that she tried a carrot (a whole carrot), lettuce, 2 peas (and she was happy to tell me she ate the pod and some friends didn't) and a "white thing with green on top that looked like a marshmallow with wigglies on the bottom." Hmm.

After school we went to park day since she was on the early schedule and finally got to go. Then we had swimming lessons. Maggie is learning how to dive and can swim the 25 yard pool by herself. Dalton just moved up to level three which means he can swim about 10 feet or so, rolling over to breathe, with an instructor nearby.

Then we went to Daphne's Greek Cafe for dinner. I carefully described all the food to Maggie and showed her the coupon flier. She decided she wanted a pita with meat and lettuce inside and hummus and pita chips. She was very suspicious about the whole thing, but said she'd be happy as long as she got her "tortilla" and meat. I ordered an adult meal for the kids to share. Dalton had a chicken kabob and Maggie had the gyro. I had to request that they leave her pita whole, and she made a little taco with hummus, pita and gyro and she LOVED it. After her first bite she said, "I wish we could have this for dinner every night." In fact, the only thing she didn't care for was the pita chips. She was also suspicious about trying the baklava.

Suspicious, I tell you. Dalton ate his chicken and half my Greek side salad. I ate the veggies from his kabob, had my own kabob and a street pita. Sooooo good.

After dinner, we walked to the fancy market next door, which I'd never visited. We browsed the produce section to find Maggie's mystery vegetable she tried. Turnip? Parsnip? Rutabaga? Nope. It was a green onion. Maggie actually did like green onion already but perhaps has only seen it sliced up. Anyway, that was her favorite thing she ate all day.

Sienna at Six Months: My baby is already six months old. She is turning into a little lady. As much as it brings me joy to see her eyes light up with each new thing she learns, I'm a little sad as well. It goes by so quickly. Since she was born I had the impression she would be more of a girly-girl than Maggie, and I still feel that way. She has delicate, precious little looks and a petite feel about her. She's very tall though (proof tomorrow after her 6-month well visit.)

Two big things that happened this week are beginning solid foods and sitting up on her own. I've delayed starting her on baby food mostly because I'm cheap and lazy but also because I am savoring the time I spend breast feeding what may be my last baby. I am a proud breast feeding mommy and I really do love it. But mostly I'm cheap and lazy. We've tried rice cereal and pears. She apparently does not like pears. Hopefully she picks up on the eating thing soon because I plan on leaving her for a long hike in Yosemite in 5 weeks.

Sienna adores her family. She turns whenever she hears Daddy's voice. She smiles and giggles at Maggie, who is the best helper and big sister. She appreciates Dalton's attempts to share when he's feeling loving, and leaving her alone when he's not.

Her favorite toys are Dalton's swim goggles, a badminton birdie, and the lid from the toy kitchen. She also likes to put fistfuls of my hair in her mouth.

Baby Girl has a big smile and is very friendly. When she talks while smiling, she sticks her tongue out a little and makes a cute "ulll" sound. She's quite talkative and will babble on to Maggie, or try to sing along if we are all singing songs. The song I sing to her (I should say "we" because the kids know all the words now) is "Hey Baby (I Wanna Know If You'll Be My Girl)." She loves it!

It's difficult to get her to sleep during the day, though she sleeps fabulous at night (7-6 the last couple weeks). She has only fallen asleep in her crib or in the sling over the past month or so. Maybe a handful of times in the car. She just likes to see what's going on. This is making church and the kids' activities difficult.

Dalton Does Good: Dalton brought home a certificate from gymnastics today. He walked forward and sideways on the high beam all by himself. I watched him do it from the viewing area and he did so good.

He made it to level 3 in swimming lessons this week. Just now in the bath I heard him giving swimming lessons to the ducks and dinosaurs. "Eyes Down. Rollll. 1 2 3 4 5, Eyes down."

Dalton: Can I watch the one that says, "What? A llama! He's 'apposed to be dead!" (The Emperor's New Groove)

At the Dentist: Dalton was afraid to go to the dentist. Lucky for him, I forgot and we ran out the door ten minutes after his appointment, so he didn't have time to worry about it. He refused to put his shoes on, so I carried him. He got a piggy back ride from the car to the office, then I got his new flip flops out of my purse. Picking out a Mater toothbrush and Maggie going first quelled most of his fears. Plus, he got to wear cool shades and watch a show about ocean life.

Me: I posted a couple pictures of myself on my picture blog. Both were taken for a photo-a-day challenge I'm doing. The first one was supposed to be for my favorite color. The trees on this street burst into the most wonderful spring-y green. With the setting sun they don't look so pretty but I love looking at them every time I drive down the street right now.

I wasn't supposed to be in the picture. I am singing to baby girl.

Hey, hey baby
I wanna know
If you'll be my girl

In fact, on this particular occasion, I think Maggie, Dalton and I were all singing to her. It was in the evening and she was ready for bed. We were on our way home after having dinner at Daphne's Greek Cafe while John was out of town, and picking out sugar cookies at Gelson's.

The other picture is my reflection in the car window. Dalton and I had dropped Maggie off at school and walked back to the parking lot. I don't normally use the sling for Sienna for such a short trip, but she was really tired and I wanted to snuggle her. Sure enough, she fell asleep in the car on the short drive home.

It's just a coincidence that I'm wearing the same shirt in both pictures! I got it for just $3 at Target when it was on sale for $6 and I had a printable coupon.

Holly Stars: John planned a great getaway this weekend to Hollywood. We stayed at the iconic Hotel Angeleno right off the 405 at Santa Monica. I didn't realize that was the hotel until I was figuring out the directions to go there. It was really nice. There was a wall covered in black stones, and the kids enjoyed bubbles and a jump rope picked from a treasure box at the front desk. Sleeping with everyone in the same room could have been a lot worse. I guess.

After we checked in, we headed to Arby's to pick up some dinner, then found our way to Lake Hollywood park. It's an unofficial dog park, so we had some visitors for dinner. Luckily, the children's play area has a fence around it. The kids loved the park, and even Sienna got to enjoy the swings. After playing, we hiked up the hill a bit to take pictures with the Hollywood sign.

It was nearly dark when we got back to our hotel. We took the elevator up to the top floor to look out at the city and the huge, rising moon.

On Saturday, we were all up much too early. We decided to visit the temple first. We drove to the Los Angeles temple and walked around the grounds and took some pictures. Then we went to the visitor's center and saw some church films and shared that with the kids.

After the temple we drove to Hollywood and Highland and found some parking. Then we began our search for "Holly Stars" as Dalton interpreted the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars. We found all the Disney characters and apparently Disneyland itself has a star. Also saw Harry Potter, Star Wars, and of course lots more.

We took the Metro subway and a free shuttle to Universal CityWalk to have lunch and walk around a bit. A girl gave us some unopened packages of chips they wouldn't let her take into the park.

We went back to the Walk of Fame and found Mickey Mouse, which we missed earlier because of the crowd around Michael Jackson. Then we got in the car and drove home. The drive home was much nicer. Sienna slept the whole way and it took about half as long.

Choosing Dessert: I believe that being grumpy is a choice. Today I am choosing to turn the TV on for the kids. Today I am choosing to turn on the AC. Today I am choosing to enjoy my baby. Today I am choosing to be kind to others. Today I am choosing to pick up dinner from our favorite places. Today I am choosing to eat dessert. Oh, who am I kidding? I always eat dessert.

Today I am choosing to be happy.

Meow: The kids are fighting like cats and dogs. No, really. Dalton is the kitty.

Fit: In May I did a 30-day squats challenge. There was a rest day every five days, which I found very motivating. I was able to do the whole 30 days and while I'm not sure I look any better*, my legs feel stronger and less flabby. So this month I am doing a 30-day crunches challenge. I've been doing crunches since Sienna was six weeks, but I just started doing them a harder way that feels more effective. I'm going to make it after all.

*At least by virtue of that. Breast feeding a quickly growing infant is kicking into high gear and maybe my extra pounds are finally coming off.

[Comments] (1) In Which I Condone Lying: Maggie has learned how to keep a secret better in the last two years, but Dalton... Not so much. Here's the kids' version:

M: Dalton told Daddy about his Father's Day present!
Me: What did you say?
D: I said Snoopy!
M: I lied to him!
Me: What?
M: I lied to Daddy! I told him we didn't buy that for Daddy. *Giggle*

And then I high-fived my six year old for lying to her father.

John's version:

J: So, your son has a big mouth.
Me: What did he say? I heard the Maggie version.
J: We were talking about shows and I said "Snoopy" and he said, "Just like on your Father's Day present!" And Maggie said, "No, Dalton! He doesn't know what he's talking about. We didn't buy you that. We bought you something else. He doesn't know!" rushing on. I wished I had a video camera!

Spring Fling: Tonight we all went to the Spring Fling carnival at the school. It was a fun family outing. I pre-ordered 25 tickets for $10. The kids played some carnival games and got some junky prizes. They did the cake walk twice. The rest of the tickets went into the raffles for various themed gift baskets put together by each class, including ones with Lego sets and Disneyland tickets. Fancy!

We also got Longboards ice cream bars from the food truck and they were so delicious. We haven't really gone to any of the PTA events, mostly because they like to do movie nights after the kids are in bed. So it was fun to go do this one. I know Maggie loves when we support her activities like that.

Dinosaurs: John and I are playing Jurassic Park Builder on our phones and the iPad. Fun times.

: I finally got Sienna to swallow actual bites of puréed baby food. Other than rice cereal, which she likes pretty well. She's turned her nose up at pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas and mangoes, but today she ate... green beans. Yup.

Sienna will also eat baby puffs and bits of bread or tortilla or soft pretzel and she really likes ice cream. She does a lot better with extra soft chunks of food, but maybe we've made a break through with the purées. I won't get my hopes up. She's got to eat something though; breast feeding is no longer enough for her.

Pillow Hotel: Dalton has been making, instead of a pillow house, a pillow hotel. This is just about every morning, usually after I make the bed, and involves taking every pillow into the house and making a little fort. One extra cute addition I wanted to blog about is that when you enter the hotel he has you pick a toy from a treasure box. He got this idea from the Hotel Angeleno. I have a feeling he's in for a disappointment during our next hotel stay.

California Here We Come: Day 1: We drove to Aunt Pat's house. We stopped in Beullton for lunch at Pea Soup Andersen's, and then went to Solvang so John could see if it was a fun as he remembered (it was). In between, we went to Ostrichland. Cheaper than Disneyland, scarier than Jurassic Park. We fed the ostriches and emus and did not get bit. In Solvang, John got a bear claw and some marzipan and we walked around and looked at the quaintness and windmills.

Day 2: We've both wanted to go to Hearst Castle for a long time, so we finally went. It was $25 each for the bus and tour, rip-off, but it was cool to see. We enjoyed the bus ride and the grounds, especially the fancy pools and seeing his personal zoo polar bear cages! We even spotted the zebras feeding with the cattle.

We also stopped at the elephant seal viewing area to check out those cool creatures. And finally went to Moonstone beach on our way back to Los Osos. The kids and I went sea-glass hunting while John stayed with sleeping Sienna in the car. It was a pretty cool beach. The kids enjoyed playing with their cousins. They colored with Leah and Joel taught Maggie how to play baseball in the backyard. Garry and Joan drove down to see us, also. Garry and Sienna have the same reddish blond hair. I hope I get a strawberry girl!

Day 3: We drove to San Francisco. Since rain was predicted for Monday, we decided to do one of our activities earlier and went straight to the Golden Gate Bridge. And of course, it rained on us. We walked about 1/4 of the way in the rain and wind and still enjoyed it, even thought we couldn't see much. After, we went to Leonard and Jeff's and had a great dinner made by Jeff.

Day 4: We headed up to Muir Woods, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (Maggie's favorite part) and not realizing we needed Dramamine. Both kids threw up just as we were arriving. Ugh. We had to park reallllly far from the parking lot. John took the kids in the umbrella stroller (which died on the way) and I finished cleaning out the car and carried Sienna. We bought Dalton a new shirt, then enjoyed the trees on a 1 mile walk.

After the hike, we went to Fisherman's Wharf where we had soup in bread bowls at Boudin, went for a walk, and bought candy at a candy shop. We parked on top of a parking structure so we had great views of the city and the bay, which was finally clear. Another great dinner by Jeff greeted us when we got back.

Day 5: Tuesday we headed to Yosemite. We stopped at Costco for provisions. We were the first in the family to arrive at the cabins, and made dinner for everyone. John did a treasure hunt for the little kids.

Day 6: We drove into Yosemite Valley, went on a very long walk to the Yosemite Falls. John took each of the kids scrambling on the large rocks at the base of the falls, which was very exciting. A highlight of the trip for all three of them. We ate a packed lunch, then went to Bridalveil Fall. More rock scrambling.

Day 7: On Thursday, we got up early and drove to Curry Village to do the Vernal Fall hike. This was adults and nursing babies only. Maggie and Dalton stayed behind with Grandma, Sabrina, Kyli and Morgan to play with. Dalton followed Sabrina around, and Maggie really enjoyed playing checkers with Morgan. The cabin had some awesome swings in the trees, and lots to do outside, so they all had fun.

The hike was awesome. A moderate climb up to the base of the fall. Then, we began climbing steps carved into the granite cliffs, under the spray of the water. We were worried it wouldn't be safe to carry the babies up the steps but it turned out fine. It was a hard climb, though. At the top, there was an emerald pool, and plenty of shady spots to rest and have a snack. Then we had to climb back down all those big steps. We got back to the cabins around 2, but were too exhausted to do much else. John, Sienna, Jamie, Dave and I went for a drive on the cabin dirt road to find the nearest river. It took a lot longer than we thought.

Day 8: Finally a lazy day. Half the group drove down to see Sequoia trees. We, Franco and Jodi decided to have a more relaxing day. We drove to Glacier Point and had lunch and popsicles there. Did a little bit of boulder climbing for the kids, and enjoyed the amazing view, including the view of Vernal Fall where we had just hiked. We were planning to do a short hike, but John and Franco had sore backs and the kids were whiny and it was hot, so we gave up on that. Instead we went to Bridalveil Fall, and played in the pools of the stream. The kids had so much fun splashing around. The last stop was another tour of the valley, and a stop at the gift shop to buy a Christmas ornament and a magnet. We had a really great time hanging out with Jodi and Franco that day.

Day 9: The drive home. We left about 10:45 and got home by 7. We stopped at Dewar's in Bakersfield, but it was 111 degrees, so we didn't stay long. We just wanted to get home. Thanks to John for doing most of the driving. He had me drive for a while, but I had taken a Dramamine in the morning and I was SO tired!

California: The Lighter Side: Here are a few quotes and funny happenings I wrote down from our California trip.

Garry to Dalton: Pink can be your favorite color. Just don't tell anyone about it.

Dalton (asleep): Waaaaaah! The alligator is going to bite me!

Maggie: Can I have some of those chips like Aunt Rachel likes?

Dalton, praying at Uncle Leonard's house: Thank you we could look for the kitties.

Maggie: Volcano interrupted. (I think she was telling Dalton a story about dinosaurs, but she kept saying the volcano "interrupted" instead of "erupted")

One of the funniest moments in Yosemite was when we were eating lunch and overheard a mother reacting to her teenage son throwing his retainer in a bear-proof trash can.

We saw a coyote standing by the side of the road, basically begging for food. That was pretty much the only wildlife we saw.

Dalton, hiking in 90 degree weather: I want to go back to the two cabins because I'm cold.

We Are One: I've been thinking about this for a while and even blogged about it before, but I wanted to blog again about how lucky I am to have John as my partner. At least once a day I look around and think, "This is why God intended for children to have two parents." When we find ourselves in the car dressed, fed, packed and on time for church (with hair fixed, no less). When we are able to each read a kid a different bedtime story. When John needs someone to complain to about work. When I can't entertain a grumpy baby for another minute. When he needs to do chiropractic exercises without kids climbing on him. When we are dragging stuff for a family of five up the hill from the beach. When we're unpacking from our trip, doing laundry and getting tired, hungry, dirty kids clean, fed and in bed (with bonus car wash).

I wrote the above on my phone in the mother's room during Sunday School yesterday, and then went into Relief Society to hear a lesson on marriage. The main thing I took from the lesson was charity, it all its forms, and thinking the best of your companion. I also remembered sharing a cabin with Jodi and Franco in Yosemite and seeing ourselves reflected in them - The complicated bedtime dance, the day-to-day handled together, the need for two parents, the partnership.

It's like a [mostly] seamless dance. Everything gets done. Everyone is happy. Needs are met. It's amazing. I'm so blessed.

*Title taken from an April 2013 General Conference talk on the Priesthood.

Shinguards: At the cabin in Yosemite, I tripped on some uneven flagstone and fell on to the gravel. I scraped up my hands and banged my knees, and scraped and hit my shin on something - not sure what. I also twisted my ankle. but the shin was what really hurt. It's been weeks and it still hurts! The kids try to use my legs as a slide and it feels like it was just freshly bruised. Now I know why soccer players wear shinguards.

Speaking of, I signed both of the kids up for soccer during the month of August. Maggie's class is actually a sports combo, and Dalton's is soccer, so I had to order him some shinguards. He thought they were pretty neat!

Sienna's New Talents: Sienna is 8 months this week. She celebrated by practicing her backwards crawl, pushing up on her knees, and learning how to suck baby food straight from a pouch. Not sure I should be proud of that last one. She is really thinking about crawling and I'm trying to teach the kids to keep their choking hazards out of reach.

Sienna has also been waking up at night a lot lately. I am too nice to make her cry. Partially because I don't want to disturb John, partially because I keep hoping she'll just stop doing it, and also I have no idea what time it is until I get to get room. Why is how I ended up tapping this at 2:15 am.

ABCs of Me Right Now: Stealing this idea from Jill for something to blog about. I'm trying to blog more.

Ambition: Be an awesome mom. Specifically, I am wanting to do homeschool preschool with Dalton this fall.

Bad Habits: fingernail biting

Celebrity Crush: No idea. We are watching the first season of Glee right now and that Asian kid is kind of cute.

Drink: Water. Lots and lots of water.

Education: B.S. in Recreational Therapy.

Food: Salad and Ice Cream as always. Lately I've been eating a ton of chocolate covered blueberry/acai/pomegranate "fruit juice pieces"

Guilty Pleasures: Going back to sleep after I feed Sienna in the morning and letting John get up with the kids.

Hometown: I suppose I will claim Bakersfield since John added it to my Facebook profile.

Ice Cream: Ben and Jerry's Phish Food.

Jonesing For: A nap. A long walk with John. International travel.

Kryptonite: Sleeping babies.

Look-a-like: My cousin Laura.

Movie: Wreck-it-Ralph

Nickname: Dalton still calls me "Susie Chadwick" sometimes.

Obsessions: Disneyland, apparently.

Perfume: I don't really wear perfume.

Quirk: Rolling my eyes.

Regret: Not being a better mother today.

Saver/Spender: Lately, I've been more spendy. Always frugal, and cutting back again as we save for a trip to Europe next year.

The Last Book You Read: I can't remember. That certainly says something about me right now.

Unique Feature: I have squished thumbs.

Vacation: Getting ready to go to San Diego next week! Legoland, Wild Animal Safari and San Diego Zoo.

Wardrobe: Jeans and t-shirts. Well, it's summer. Jean capris and jean shorts and t-shirts. And Rainbows and a ponytail.

X-ray: I don't know what this means. I haven't had an x-ray since I was in Romania

Years: We've been in California for just over 1 year. It's flown by. The days are short and the years are shorter.

Zen: Nursing my baby. I truly love it.

And the Park is Free: Today on our way to swimming lessons, then craft time at the library, and after Maggie's Hero Camp and lunch at Carl's Jr., I told Dalton I was taking him to the park tomorrow with the two kids I'm watching. Maggie interrupted with a whiny "you never let me do fun things!" I was pretty mad about it all day. She's only six, but a little appreciation would be nice. Seriously. It didn't help that her attitude all day was argumentative and just plain annoying.

But when I was complaining to John he said, "That just goes to show that sometimes as parents we miss the mark." (And THAT goes to show why kids need two parents.) Maggie would just as soon go to the park as go to Hero Camp, regardless of how much work I put into it. It also goes to show that Hero Camp isn't worth the effort. I think the moms are more impressed with it than the kids.

Just some food for thought. My friend Amy and I were just talking about it, too. Her kids lucked out with a less creative mom who takes them to the park and mine got one who gets sad if they don't appreciate all my creative work. Sheesh.

: Dalton, in Sacrament Meeting: Is that Grandma June?!?

The lady was actually not even that old...

: Maggie: I can eat popcorn with my pink teeth. (gums)

Where Did This Come From?: Sienna has a tooth! My friend Amy pointed it out to me at the park. It's already completely out and the one next to it is pushing up on her gums as well. With Maggie, we would joke, "she's teething!" every time she cried about something. Because it was never her teeth. So when Sienna didn't sleep well a few nights last week, I didn't think anything of it. But there it is.

She is so proud of herself, pushing up on her knees and wiggling around the room. She'll be crawling very soon.

Hero Camp: In which Maggie goes to day camp, I take a nap, Dalton is saved by a real hero, and Sienna continues in long-suffering.

This week was Hero Camp, put on by some women in the stake. It started out innocently enough, but is now over 200 kids. It's only $35 for supplies, including the t-shirts, and moms have to volunteer. This year was a detective theme. Each day Maggie learned about a new hero, did some themed activities and games, crafts, had a lesson, and a treat. It was very detailed, overly planned, and kind of amazing. It was also exhausting.

Some of the best activities Maggie liked were a laser maze (white yarn strung up between chairs and black lights), a cardboard box maze, and a gumball machine filled with candy. There was also a "bubble man" doing bubble tricks for them.

My day was Thursday. I was on the activity committee. We had 5 different activities to rotate the kids through (15 or so groups of 10-20 kids for 7 minutes each). My activity was digging in inflatable pools filled with pit balls for fish stickers (a la Moses parting the Red Sea). So I was in charge of finding and borrowing pools and balls, and getting them set up. It was way more work than it sounds like. I am sore today from squatting down next to the pools and leaning over hiding the fish (4+ times for every group). Ugh. I was so exhausted after the late night set up and the early morning get there and the long day doing it and cleaning up that I took a nap when we got home.

Today there was a cutie performance with each group doing songs they learned. Maggie's group did a rockin' version of The Army of Helaman. After the songs and a slideshow, we went to the Lagoon. This was on our summer list. We got a great spot thanks to friends saving extra. Sienna took a little nap. It was great fun.

Until Dalton followed a mom he made friends with over to an area I didn't realize was a little deeper, and couldn't keep his head up. It's true what they say about drowning - it's quiet and you might not even notice. The moms right next to him didn't, but the lifeguard did and was headed over as I noticed my little blondie had disappeared under the water. He wasn't drowning though, just got in a little too deep. But yay for lifeguards doing their job.

He Finally Said It: "I miss Disneyland." Dalton has been telling me several times a day for the last week or so what rides he wants to go on next. We're going to Legoland in two days, we'll see if that quells anything.

A Day: I got up at 12:50 am to nurse Sienna after she cried for 20 minutes. Ugh.

At 6:45 I can hear that Maggie (who has no quiet voice) has found the two key elements of mornings at our house: Daddy and the iPad. Sienna hears her, too. Ugh again. I nurse her in bed because we're both tired. But the kids have gymnastics class at 9 and I have to work on Monday mornings, so no more sleep for me.

John leaves for work around seven. The girls play (Maggie coloring and Sienna trying to eat the coloring book) and I work until 8, then we get ready for gymnastics. I have to wake Dalton up and we are late.

Maggie gets to ring the bell and show everyone her kickover. She does a bridge, then kicks her legs over and stands up. Her entire class figured it out today. Sienna gathers admirers and I make friends with the mom next to me.

After gymnastics, the kids eat fruit snacks in the car on the way to Target. We buy lots of baby food pouches with Target coupons, a new leotard and a backpack for Maggie, and a couple other little things. The cashier is impressed with my coupons, but those baby food things are expensive.

Sienna falls asleep on the way home. The kids play on their ride-on cars in the garage while I bring the groceries in and start a load of laundry. I nurse Sienna and put her in bed. The kids are noisy and she refuses to sleep until the minute I send them downstairs. I do another 1/2 hour of work and we eat lunch around 1.

After lunch, I sit on the couch looking on Pinterest while the kids invent games in the living room. Sienna wakes up around 2.

The kids play and I do more work. We get the slide set up in their room and they go crazy on it. I go through my fabric scraps and make Sienna a baby wipes box full of fabric scraps to play with and a treasure basket - a basket full of natural (not plastic) items around the house (I couldn't find much, but she loved it). The kids and I also make her a baby toy by filling a plastic water bottle with tiny pieces of aluminum foil that shake around. She is almost crawling and it's hard to keep the foil out of her reach until it's safely in the bottle.

At 4, she goes down for another nap and I start dinner. The kids are watching Madagascar. I try a new homemade tortilla recipe, and get out burrito stuff. John is home for dinner because he has a chiropractor appointment at 5:30. Maggie and I eat burritos and Dalton invents a peanut butter tomato tortilla and eats half of it.

By the time I got dinner cleaned up, Sienna fed and the movie is over, it's time for baths. Sienna sits in her whale tub in the big bath tub with Maggie and splashes to her heart's content. After Sienna gets out and I am feeding her, Dalton gets in. When Sienna is in bed, the big kids get out of the bath and we read stories. Dalton picks a favorite, The Sleepy Little Alphabet, and Maggie chooses a book on Macaws from the library. She is very into birds right now. Then we watch some Fantasia clips, starting with the ostriches dancing. Finally: bedtime. I manage to get off only being medium-mean-mom because I won't let Dalton go eat.

Back to work once the kids are in bed. I am adding pictures to threads on craft ideas and frugal tips. John has been working this whole time because he'll be off most of the week. We are going to San Diego on Wednesday! John and I sneak out for a walk, then watch an episode of Glee. We'll be up too late tonight. One of my favorite parts of the day is sneaking into Sienna's room to plug my phone in and seeing her sleeping. I always leave the room smiling.

Tomorrow is another day!

Bright Boy: We scootered home from ward FHE in the park last night.

Dalton: The sun! The sun! It's giving us light!

And a few moments later: It's that how much down.

If only we could all have such zest.

Also, from Rachel's Facebook page: Researching gender in the British Library. We asked my nephew if he wanted to be a flower guy. Answer: yes. My niece asked if she can be a flower GIRL. "I can help Dalton," she offered.

Dalton is super excited to "hold the green and throw the flowers at Aunt Reechel's wedding."

Breastfeeding at Legoland: At Legoland, Maggie and I were in line for the Joust ride while John took Dalton on a roller coaster. I was nursing Sienna, in hopes of getting a little nap out of her, which didn't happen. A lady in front of us asked if I had a camera so she could take my picture and I would have a beautiful picture of me breastfeeding my child at Legoland! I misunderstood her at first (possibly because it was such a weird thing to ask) but then I gave her my phone and let her take a picture of me.

It was presumptious, and a little strange, mostly because I imagine she would do that any time she saw someone breastfeeding. But she was RIGHT. There aren't a lot of pictures of me in the first place. I'm the one who does most of the picture-taking. And it's difficult to take a picture of one's self breastfeeding (though I have one Maggie took). So, now I have a beautiful picture of me breastfeeding my child at Legoland. I look great, because I am laughing at the woman.

Dalton's Bedtime Story: Once upon a time there were a mommy that love me and a beebee that like me and a daddy who love me and a Maggie who like me. The End.

Junktastic: I asked Dalton today what we wanted for his birthday. He began to list off a variety of junky things I've said "no" to over the past year. I don't know how he remembers this stuff.

Crayola crayon maker (they saw this in an abandoned cart at Target)
"baby toy where the dolphin goes into a circle" (from a Baby Einstein show)
another new car (ok that one's fine)
Angry Birds racing (I thought this was on clearance at Target and almost bought it, but then I realized it was full-price, for a junky track and an Angry Birds car we already have).

What we are looking at getting him is a trip to Disneyland (his ticket is still valid) and a lava lamp.

I Have a Crazy Baby: In the last day or two Sienna:

Sat up from her tummy
Pulled up to standing
Tried to climb the stairs
Crawled her first steps (crawls?)
Babbled both mama and dada

And yesterday for lunch she ate 4 oz of carrot puree, 2 handfuls of Cheerios and FIVE silver dollar pancakes.

Slow Down, Little One: It is so amazing and wonderful to watch Sienna grow up. I miss my baby already. I looked in on her last night, my favorite moment of the day, and she was lying sideways in her crib, too long to fit. Such a tall girl.

I'm glad the other two were shipped off to gymnastics camp everyday this week because I've enjoyed some great alone time with her. Like shopping. It is fantastic to go shopping with one little baby.

Hotel California: Earlier this week, John had to teach in the LA office. We drove up with him the night before to stay in the hotel because the kids loooove hotels. It is a destination in itself, apparently. We stayed at the JW Marriott next to the Staples Center. It was $40 to park. Times two.

After we checked in, we went for a walk around the neighborhood (ie downtown). I love downtown LA. Nice tall buildings. Maggie was wearing a nametag from her sports class earlier in the day, and I was not the least bit surprised when a homeless person finally called her name. She had found a dollar in the grocery store where we stopped to buy breakfast, but decided to keep it for herself, not her new friend.

Surprisingly, all 5 of us slept great in the same room. The kids and Sienna were probably just exhausted. After John went to work, we sat around watching Disney Jr. Then, we went to the mall on our way home to do one of the summer events as the Disney Store - a Piglet animation class!

Missing Disney?: My friends' Disney passes are all valid again and pictures of cute kids riding Dumbo are filling my Facebook page. I almost miss it. It sounds like fun. But it also sounds like a lot of work and a lot of effort and I really enjoyed a Saturday full of errands and swimming with the family this past weekend.

I guess I overdid Disneyland getting my money's worth and having a pass sounds like too much work right now. I'm ok with that.

Maggie's Kindergarten Report Card: Which I am just now looking at. (trimester comments)

Maggie is a joy to teach! Her work habits and behavior are outstanding, and she serves as a positive role model in our classroom. Maggie’s thinking skills and expressive oral language skills are evident in her classroom participation. She has developed a strong foundation in reading and math, and I am proud of her progress and effort! She takes pride in all her work, and it shows in her artwork and journal writing. We will continue to encourage her to add “voice” (with movement lines and words) to her illustrations and writing. Maggie is off to a great start in school! Thank you for all your help and support for Maggie and our class.

I very much enjoy working with Maggie! She is so delightful! Maggie is making great academic progress. Maggie’s reading and writing skills continue to develop during RTI instruction. Her imagination and creativity are reflected in her journal writing. Maggie is now writing multiple sentences, and using descriptive words when writing. She always puts forth her best effort into every task that she is assigned. Maggie has a positive, enthusiastic attitude towards school and you can be very proud of her accomplishments. Wonderful job Maggie

Maggie has made terrific progress this year in Kindergarten! She continues to excel in all areas. She has a strong work ethic as well as a strong foundation of skills to expand upon next year in first grade. I have especially enjoyed Maggies’s journal writing throughout the year. It has been such a pleasure to watch Maggie learn and grow this year in Kindergarten. With Maggies’s friendly, cooperative attitude, she will always be a pleasant addition to any class. I hope you have a wonderful summer and wish you all the very best in first grade!

Acrobats and Taxes: I asked Maggie in the car what she wanted to be when she grows up. She wants to be a fourth grade teacher. She'll be a paleontologist during summer break, and an acrobat with the circus on Saturdays.

We were driving by the college and I explained to her again how that's where you go learn the job you want to do. I told her about Daddy being an accountant and what taxes are. (For the record, I also explained Recreational Therapy and bill-paying to her.)

I also added that taxes pay for things like schools, parks and roads, and we pay a lot of them so we can live somewhere with nice parks and a great school.

An hour later she asked, "Does it not cost a lot of money to go to India because it's a little bit dirty there?" It took me a minute to grasp her meaning, since it had come out of nowhere. Indians must not pay as much in taxes because their streets aren't as clean. Clever connection for her to make, I thought.

No Good, Not-So-Bad Day: Today was kind of awful in a weird way. Sienna woke up at 2:45 am, and then everyone was awake again before 7. The kids played great in their room. Sienna was ok at first.

But I have been in an inexplicable bad mood all day. Sienna has been insanely grumpy. Either she was as affected as I by that early morning wake up call, or she's getting more teeth. She's been screaming and acting crazy. And she wouldn't nap. I finally got her down for a good one after 3.

The kids haven't been especially naughty. Their noise has been bothering me and Dalton broke the baby gate I spent an hour installing yesterday. I tried taking a nap or at least getting some rest. I tried thinking happy thoughts, singing songs, counting my blessings. Meh.

I actually got a ton done today. Rachel is coming tonight. I did some cleaning and three loads of laundry. Sorted out all the craft stuff for starting preschool with Dalton. I even finally finished taking pictures of Maggie's school work I wanted to remember (and recycle). It sure felt good to get that crossed off my list.

We had take out for dinner, John took Sienna for a walk and the kids and I are at the park. Maybe we just needed to get outside after a day of cleaning and cooped-up. The fresh air and prospect of seeing my sister soon, and of bedtime, is making me feel better finally.

Pack Rat: John had to go to LA a few weeks ago, and since the kids are obsessed with hotels we went up and stayed the night with him. Dalton packed for himself:
4 shirts
3 shorts
1 pair of pajamas
4 pairs of underwear
2 pairs of socks
6 stuffed animals
a blanket
a pillow
14 cars

More Dalton cuteness:

Dalton: Can I play on the macuter after you're done?
Me: Macuter?
Maggie: I forgot how to say it. Pacuter?
Dalton: Zoocuter!!

Dalton: dotter-dotter (dot to dot)
Dalton: Pump Dump (Pump it Up - bouncy place)

On Being a Mom: Maggie told me that when she is a mom she will do laundry on Thursdays.

You know why I only want two kids? Remember I want to do all the things and they might get in the way.

(Separate occasion) Leonard doesn't want kids because they might bother him.

At Costco:
Oooh, I want that for my lunch at school!
Me: That's Jell-o. You guys don't like Jell-o.
I like Jell-o.
Me: You like Jell-o? Everytime I make Jell-o, nobody eats it.
Yeah, but you can play dinosaurs in it.

A Mother's Arms: I rocked some babies to sleep today.

Earlier this week, a friend lost her husband in a car accident. I can't imagine what she has gone through this week. I haven't been able to put my sadness and helplessness into words. When something like this happens, you want to help, but often don't know how. I ended up volunteering in the nursery for her daughters and dozens of nieces and nephews during the funeral.

I took one crying child after another and rocked him to sleep, snuggling him to a moment's peace. And then I went to get my own children, 4 hours later and much thanks to the friend they were with.

This is what I can do. There are no words for such inexplicable loss. There is no use for "let me know if I can do anything." But there is a place for a mother's arms around another's child, leaving parents to mourn their brother, their husband, their friend. This I can do. I rocked some babies to sleep today. Beginning and ending with my own and filled with love in between.

Finally Naptime:
Attempted naps: 3
Minutes spent crying in her crib: 135
Minutes spent sleeping: 1 and counting
Poor sick baby.

Orbiting Granillas: Maggie had me laughing in the car today. She asked me why there were 52 weeks in a year, so we got on a conversation about the earth rotating and orbiting the sun. Then she said, "Do the planets have lines to follow around the sun, or do they just have to remember the way?"

We had dinner at Rubio's and on the way out, she noticed a ZPizza and asked, "Is that Zuppa's?" I told her it wasn't and that Zuppa's was only in Utah. A few minutes later she asked if you could make your own country. "Not a country, but a place with all the things. If you can, I'm going to make one and mine will have Zuppa's." Right on.

Then, we were playing our new favorite game of "I'm thinking of a...." I was thinking of an animal and she guess "granilla." Or a gorilla. Whichever.

Bouncy Baby: Yesterday Dalton got lost at school. I said, "come here Dalton" when he was playing at the playground and he headed toward the gate when I was headed to Maggie's classroom in the opposite direction. As soon as I noticed he wasn't at the playground, I went to the gate and saw him halfway down the block to the car - with a throng of people in between. I started running to try to catch up to him, but he just kept walking! Finally, a couple of moms we know from K last year noticed he was alone and crying and stopped him from crossing the driveway. Of course, we practiced "stickedy-stuck feet" and saying "Where's my mommy?" which he is very good about doing at Disneyland and Target, but apparently didn't occur to him when he thought he knew where he was going.

Anyway, the point of this blog was about me running to catch up to him. Maggie was very impressed that I could run faster than she! "And wearing flip flops," I said. "And carrying Nenna," she added. Yes, carrying Nenna. She was LAUGHING the whole time! She laughed so loudly, I thought she was crying. She LOVES being bounced. If I bounce her a bit and then stop, she will start rocking herself to get me to keep it up.

Blooster: We've begun a new trend of walking to school to get Maggie and bringing her scooter so she can happily scoot home. We pass by a park and I've been letting the kids run do one slide as we pass by. Today Maggie slid down the pole and got a blister on her hand.

After gymnastics I saw that her coach had bandaged her hand up. She told me she had a booster. I figured a booster was some sort of thing to protect her hand while doing the bars. Then I realized she meant the blister. I told her the correct word. Later, in the bath she told me that her "blooster" was hurting.

Speaking of Maggie and pain, she lost her first tooth yesterday! She was pretty whimpery about it the last day before it fell out. It fell out while my friend Amy was watching her. The Tooth Fairy brought her a dollar!

Maggie is loving first grade so far. She loves to learn. She got the first Wise Owl award for Winning Attitude and being a good example. Shocker. I am excited to volunteer in the classroom and help out with the math groups this year.

Picking Ice Cream Flavors: Dalton invented a game in the car yesterday. He asked me to name things I can do. I named things like drive a car, play the piano etc. Then it was his turn.

I can pick ice cream flavors, play games, play on the iPad, take a bath...

The boy has some talents. Then we had to list things we can't do. Neither of us can drive a FedEx truck, of which we saw dozens. Dalton can't drive a FedNext truck either.

Dalton learned his lesson after getting lost at school the other day. We played at the playground before Maggie's soccer class on Tuesday. Then we stopped at the car to get her soccer socks on and Dalton kept going. I watched him run to the to the field then turn around and go stand by a light pole and ask another parent where his mommy was. Good boy.

Dalton at 4: Dalton is four.

He loves the color green.
He loves playing racing, dinosaur agent, kitty and roadrunner, owls and eagles and other pretend games with his sister, usually involving imaginary light sabers.
He goes to gymnastics.
He is sweet, kind, and thoughtful.
His baby sister has wormed her way into his heart and he gives her kisses and fights to see her first after naptime.
He will eat nearly everything, including most vegetables.
He does NOT like cheese and fish.
He likes Angry Birds, playing iPad, and playing Mickey Mouse and Dinosaur Games on the computer.
He likes just about any movie he watches.
He likes to run around at the park with friends.
He wants to be a big kid (or a girl - whichever gets him more privileges).
He picks our his own clothes every day and likes to wear a single color (red shirt, red shorts, red underwear).

For his birthday, Dalton got running clothes like Daddy, an Angry Birds Halloween shirt, a Jack Skellington shirt, and a Perry the Platypus shirt. He also got a lava lamp and Halloween ghost lights, a Halloween Lego set and Lego magnets.

We went to Pump it Up with a couple friends, and I made him a Swampy cake (Disney Where's My Water?) as requested. His friend Adrienne came over to have cake with us.

Brick or Treat: Apparently, we neglected to tell Dalton what Brick or Treat was. Because when we pulled up to Legoland after an hour drive he said, "We're going to Legoland today?"

We had a great time. John dressed as Wreck-it Ralph, I as Vanellope, Dalton as Fix-it Felix. Sienna only wore her Q*Bert hat the last few minutes but got lots of comments. She wore a pink skeleton outfit. Maggie wanted to be an owl so I made her an owl costume. Everywhere she went she got comments and compliments on her cute costume. I hope it's not going to her head. Unfortunately the costume contest was very late, or I would have entered her.

The trick or treating was very organized and fairly efficient. Each booth had a sponsor giving away things like Clif Zbars, Honest drinks, Corner bakery cookies etc. Since he Brick or Treat is included in admission, I like that they had sponsors. There was a little candy but not the pounds we brought home from Mickey's Halloween party lady year.

We got to go on a few rides, and enjoyed the Halloween decorations and a nice lunch.

Run Over: From a friend who watched Dalton recently:

When we walked to school I told Dalton we had to look for cars before crossing and he said "my mommy doesn't do that."

Pumpkins and Teepees: We went to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday. I put together a group to get a deal with unlimited bouncy house and a small pumpkin. We had a couple friends from church and a couple friends from school. The kids had a lot of fun bouncing, feeding the goats, riding the cheap rides and drumming in the teepees. It was fun for me to have friends there, too!

It seems really cheesy to go to a pumpkin patch in a parking lot with truckloads of pumpkins brought in and dumb rides, but it's pretty magical for the kids. The ground is covered in hay and they have lights at night and a bubble machine.

Date with Dalton: Dalton and I headed to South Coast Plaza to do a mystery shop this morning. (And Sienna of course, but she was just a hip accessory). After the shop, through which we obtained a $20 gift card we will put to good use, we set about for some mall fun. Dalton wanted to do "all the things" and I think we got close.

Harry and David: a free chocolate truffle each
See's: three free samples plus we bought some marzipan for John.
Disney Store: checked out some new toys (Try Me Now!) and played with the interactive displays.
Lego Store: Dalton built a race at the play table while I looked around. I discovered a bald eagle set for $5 with the fall/Thanksgiving sets so I got it for Margaret who looooves eagles.
Carousel: it was only $1 and Sienna was free if I held her. I found it a lot easier to justify now that we don't have Disney passes. The $15 animal balloons, not so much.
Corner Bakery: I told Dalton, let's go get lunch, and he didn't want to go. Then he realized we were getting lunch at the mall! score!

We spent slightly more than the $20 I'll be reimbursed but we had a great morning.

9 Toes: Yesterday I knocked most of my big toenail off when I opened the front door onto it. I ended up in the ER but they decided to just wrap it up rather than yank it out. I have to keep it up and ice it. Hopefully it will fall off in a couple weeks. Then the paper says it can take up to 12 months to grow back. Ick.

In the meantime I am bandaged and limping and trying to protect my feet from rambunctious kids.

Harry Potter Revisited.: I decided to start rereading the Harry Potter series, rather than spend free time browsing Harry Potter pins on Pinterest. I started last week and I already finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the first movie. Last night I started on the next book and I'm about a third of the way through. I've been putting off reading these again because I was thinking they were juvenile, but J.K. Rowling is such a great author. These books are amazing.

John is in his crazy, last two weeks of October, 14 hour days, time, so I've had plenty of time in the evenings. Especially since I am laid up with my bum toe.

California Girl: In the car on the way home, Maggie burst out with this gem:

I'm glad we moved because California is beautiful.
Me: Did you say California is beautiful?
Yes! It costs more money and it's beautiful. I love our house, I like all the trees, I like my school.

That's my girl.

I spent 5 minutes explaining to her that the Transformers Bot disappears into the TV with their new game console. Then, I went through her homework folder and discovered they'd just had a lesson on Fantasy vs. Reality. What kind of school is this?

And from me: Apparently, the toy wouldn't work because three of the four batteries were in upside down. Talk about user error. *oops*

[Comments] (1) Shopping Experience: A couple nights ago I had a dream I was shopping at Nordstrom. Possibly for a bridesmaid dress. I don't know if Rachel was with me or if I was telling her about my experience in the dream. When I went to the dressing room, they looked for a file on me - and found one! She handed me an empty manilla folder with hearts and drawings all over it. I said, "this is from the Nineties." Apparently the last time I had shopped at Nordstrom. Rachel was with me and we must have gotten carried away decorating the folder.

Then I tried to make a purchase. The register bank was somewhat like a sterile hotel registration desk. The cashier kept ignoring us to talk on her phone! Completely unacceptable for the level of service I had come to expect from Nordstrom. In my dream. Even though I hadn't been there for 20 years. I called loudly for a manager and went over to speak to him.

Sienna Sleeps: By 11 months, I changed Sienna's "schedule" to just one nap. The change has been amazing. She actually takes an actual nap sometimes if I keep her up until 11:30 or 12. Most single nap takers an later in the afternoon but this is working for us.

She is also sleeping better at night. 12 hours. I got up at 5:30 today and that's the earliest in over a week.

This all may have something to do with her four teeth being out, but I think having one solid nap is so much better for her. And me.

Daltonisms: A few Daltonisms that he spouted yesterday.

Fire Indian (Fire Engine)
Candy Cot (Handicapped - as in Handicapped Ticket for a parking spot)
Fruit Bear (Root Beer - can I have a fruit bear float?)

Homemade Halloween: May my children never wear mass-produced polyester Halloween costumes. May they never even want to. Those things serve a purpose, but not for us. We enjoy Halloween and putting thought and effort into costumes. Even if I don't sew any other time of year., I will for Halloween.

Margaret (I heard a school friend call her that today) is a super star in her fabulous owl costume. Success to be repeated next year if I can talk her our of a Star Wars (and Dalton out of being Princess Leia.)

Update: Maggie's teacher made a point to tell me how much she loved her costume, and the woman at the most popular trick-or-treat house asked to take her picture, saying it was the best costume she'd seen all night.

Ode to John: Happy November! It's time to be thankful, since showing thanks is so taboo the rest of the year. I will start by saying that I slept in this morning.

And yesterday.

And the day before. And pretty much every day since school started. I have only taken Maggie to school once, and even then John stayed home on a phone call while Dalton slept.

He is getting really good at fixing Maggie's hair.

He came home after drop off with breakfast in bed for me a couple days ago.

Add his sense of style, his long walks with the baby, his humor and opinions, and the bonuses at work... my, What A Catch.

Where Much is Given: This morning, John woke me up bright and early so I could fulfill our chapel cleaning assignment. This is our third cleaning assignment since we moved to this building last October. So we've spent about 4 hours, between us, cleaning the church in the last year. Some people don't even attend four hours of church in a year.

I had a lot of time to think while I was vacuuming. I started to think about why I was vacuuming. Lay clergy is just who we are, but it's only been 15 years or so since members have been asked to assist in chapel cleaning. The Church has plenty of money to pay people to clean the buildings, and in a lot of places, this would provide much needed employment for individuals. So, surely, there is a reason we are asked to do this. I thought of a talk by Elder Uchtdorf in General Conference a few weeks ago. He told this story:

Once there was a man who dreamed that he was in a great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered. He realized that each religion had much that seemed desirable and worthy.

He met a nice couple who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked, “What do you require of your members?”

“We do not require anything,” they replied. “But the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”

The couple went on to explain about Church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare and humanitarian service, and assignments to teach.

“Do you pay your people for all the work they do?” the man asked.

“Oh, no,” the couple explained. “They offer their time freely.”

“Also,” the couple continued, “every six months our Church members spend a weekend attending or watching 10 hours of general conference.” “Ten hours of people giving talks?” the man wondered.

“What about your weekly church services? How long are they?”

“Three hours, every Sunday!”

“Oh, my,” the man said. “Do members of your church actually do what you have said?”

“That and more. We haven’t even mentioned family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early-morning seminary, maintaining Church buildings, and of course there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.”

The man said, “Now I’m confused. Why would anyone want to join such a church?”

The couple smiled and said, “We thought you would never ask.”

Indeed. Well, I don't have any profound answers. Maybe tithing money is better spent elsewhere. Maybe where much is given, much is required. Maybe it's easier to part with our tithing money than give our time in such mundane service. I'm going to go with that. Perhaps we need to be sacrificing more.

Margaret Philanthropist: The other day, while shopping at Walmart, Maggie busted out this gem:

I know what a grocery store is for. It's to buy things and the money goes to people that don't have money.

I knelt down in Walmart and gave her a big hug. The world would be a different place with more Maggies in it.

This morning I told her it was Fast Sunday and that we were just going to bring snacks to church and no treats. She asked what I was fasting for, and I explained that it was a regular fast day, but also told her the purpose of my fast. Then she said, "I'm going to fast because Grandpa is in the hospital that he'll be ok. And my fast is no snacks at church."

Good girl.

Dalton on Death: Dalton is starting to freak me out with all his talk of the world ending.

When is the last day?
What happens when there's no more tomorrows?
How much are we going to be dead?

Do you think he knows something we don't?

What Happened When My Son Wore a Pink Sparkly Crown to Walmart: A month or so ago I posted a picture of Dalton at Walmart. In the picture he is wearing a pink sparkly crown (and the baby's teething necklace).

Dalton sleeps in and he frequently will come downstairs fully-dressed while Sienna and I are having breakfast. On this day he came down wearing his "running pants", a long-sleeved Incredibles shirt (last year's Halloween costume) and the pink sparkly crown his sister had brought home from school the day before. One of his better outfits, honestly. I was just gathering my coupons for a trip to Walmart so we finished breakfast, and left.

On the way to the store I remembered reading a story by a mommy blogger about a boy wearing a pink headband to Walmart and getting yelled at by a stranger. When I got home from Walmart, I thought I would go comment on the blog post. As I searched the internet for it, I discovered that the whole thing was allegedly made-up. Huh.

Anyway, I let him wear it. And you know what? No one noticed. I don't think he got any more (or fewer) smiles than he usually does. No one stared. No one commented. He kept the crown on all day until the very moment M walked out of her classroom and asked for it back. He may have had an innocuous remark from a friend at school, but seriously - no one cared. We live in a very conservative area and no one cared.

However, this experience, coupled with the recent discovery that "pink and blue" were basically arbitrarily assigned as gender markers (so arbitrarily that pink was originally assigned to boys), has given me increasing interest in the culture of "gender". I am currently reading Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys From Girls in America.

It's Autumntime: I love Fall. Even here in Southern California where the temperature swings aren't too extreme, it's a nice change in weather, atmosphere and even pace. Fall brings Halloween (yay!), warm food, time with family, new things learned at school, nice weather for being outside, long sleeves, the smell of the heater turning on (occasionally), and a deeper comfort in snuggling in my bed.

Grocery Budget: My financial goal this month is to track my grocery spending. I gave up on the budget about a year ago. I was always under budget, and there was plenty of money to spend on food, so I stopped bothering. I'm afraid it might have gotten a little bit out of control, so it's time to reign it back in. In addition to not keeping track, our grocery spending has expanded to include another one in diapers, baby food, organic produce, organic milk, nitrate free ham and hot dogs and who knows what else.

It's the 7th and I've been shopping four times. Argh! The total is under $150 for the week, though, so that's not too bad. Also, I got 6 tubes of Crest toothpaste at Ralph's for under $.50 each. Finally a good toothpaste deal! I've had to *gasp* pay full price a couple times, because toothpaste is one thing we are picky about. Now we're set for a while.

Proverbs 31: I've seen a lot of "Proverbs 31 mommy blogs" around and I think I knew what the proverb was, but it wasn't until I saw verse 27 quoted recently that I looked it up and felt touched by it.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
I need to pick two jobs - one that makes ME feel like I can relax with my house clean, and one that makes JOHN feel like that. I already know what mine is, and I'm dreading it: cleaning the kitchen floor. If the kitchen floor is clean, life is good. But I hate doing it. John's is probably clear flat surfaces. We'll see if I can work on keeping both of those things done, without everything else completely going to pot.

I also liked the last verse on eating of her own fruit.

Date Night: John and I made it to the temple today. I don't know why it is so difficult to find a babysitter - not to mention expensive. So, some friends of ours watched the kids (including grumpy Sienna who took no nap at all today). The bonus to kid swapping is that the kids love it. Maggie is already asking when we will hang out with them "after school" again, since we swap for school volunteering as well. The money saved is a big plus, too.

I was thinking about John and I and feeling a renewed commitment to our marriage, watching the video. It sure is nice to get out on a date once in a while.

After we picked the kids up, we got some Greek food from Garbanzo and took it home for dinner. Sienna was pretty excited to see her bed.

Kid Update: It's weird to think that Dalton is the same age Maggie was when we lived in India. Sienna is crawling around like Dalton was when we lived with John's parents. [Side note: I don't know how he survived living there with those steep stairs and no baby gate!]

They grow so fast and time passes so quickly. Dalton is really loving preschool. He feels so important going to "preschool" at a friend's house every week, and Maggie helps it along by being genuinely interested in what he did while she was at school. This week is my turn and we're going to do G is for Glow! I have some blacklight and glow-in-the-dark activities planned.

It's amazing to watch Maggie learn how to read. And play the piano. And play soccer. And do gymnastics. She is expanding her capabilities in every direction and it's astounding.

Sienna is a crazy face who won't nap half the time. But she is soooo cute and snuggly, I just love her so much. She just got her 5th and 6th teeth - 6 more teeth than either of the other kids had at her age! She puts everything in her mouth, loves exploring and is a quick crawler. She is starting to cruise and consider standing, but won't be walking anytime soon. I have enough trouble keeping up with her as it is, so that's fine by me!

[Comments] (1) Maggie's wishes.: Maggie has already picked out names for her future children. Luke and Sophia. Dalton, upon hearing this, announced that when he has a baby in his tummy, if it's a boy he will name it Luke Skywalker.

Maggie made a Christmas list while on a walk with John on Sunday. "Dalton wants the same thing," she said confidently. The Hot Wheels race track they picked out at Target. Light sabers. Angry Birds stuffed animals (any Angry Bird or Pig, she doesn't care). And a book about Eagles or Owls. In response to that, John and I made them get rid of some of their toys. I threw away a big pile of junky stuff, and the kids picked out some of the My Little Ponies, and a couple other things. When Christmas gets closer, we will get rid of some bigger toys as well.

NaNoBlogMo Month: I jus turned the computer off before writing my blog post so tappity tap, here I go. And I decided not to correct my tapos (or auto-correct-os). Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I'll leave them. It's symbolic.

In case you haven't noticed, my goal for the month of. Nov ER is to do a blog post every day. Unfortunately, most of them are written at 9:30 at night and are not as eloquent and thought out as thy could be. Oh well.

I feel like I should write more. I have mundane hints to say that aren't exciting or interesting, but I do enjoy looking back and reading the evey day things in my life. I also really enjoy those types of entries in my mom's journals so all the more reason to write them for my own kids. I also have more interesting hints to say, though I am not very good at saying them and I don't attempt to do so very often.

Today started off great. Sienna slept until 7 which I wish she always did. Any earlier and I go back to bed. It's nice to be up and soon stuff in he morning. But not so nice to make it worth getting up ok purpose. We watched some friends, then went shopping. I am prepping for preschool letter G tomorrow. My plans keep failing. So we went shopping and Si Emma ended up with a 20 minute nap before we picked up Maggie. When we got home, she signed nurse, and when I nursed her, sleep, but she just cried in her crib. I have altered and not as fun stuff ready for preschool and I did some cleaning (see previous blog entry on how I need a cleaning schedule). Yay me.

The low end note of the day is hat. John ended up with terrible vertigo and nausea. He hasn't been well at all in per a year, but this terrible trouble hasn't been bothering him lately at least. I got him in bed. He alreay has a chiro appt in the morning. I hope it's just a spell and not a sign of these problems returning.

*National November Blog More Month

Positive: Things I did well today:

Picking Maggie up from school on time
Not yelling at the kids
reading scriptures
reading with the kids
dressing cute (I got a new red plaid flannel shirt from Target on clearance that I am in love with)
Staying out of the stores
being happy

I wasn't so good at a few other things, but we won't go there.

And, because I know you've been wondering, my toenail came off today. That is, I tripped over Dalton in the dark while putting Sienna in bed, and it was ripped off the rest of the way.

Pink is for Boys: I read Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys From the Girls in America for the same reason the author wrote it. She was doing some research on baby clothing and discovered that in 1918, the generally accepted rule was "pink is for the boy." Yes.

"Most of the confusion [in the early 20th century, on which color was feminine and which was masculine or whether they denoted gender at all] can be attributed to the arbitrary nature of the assigned symbolism, no matter how natural it might seem to modern consumers." Arbitrary. ARBITRARY! And it's become practically gospel in our culture today.

Also, the baby dress: "It's not unusual to hear modern people describe Victorian babies as being dressed like girls; this is an error. To its own parents and grandparents, a child wearing the traditional white dress looked like 'a baby.'" This is because a baby's sexual innocence was considered one of its greatest charms. Babies once wore dresses until age 3 or so, and even in the 1940s young babies of both sexes wore white dresses. Now, I even hear comments about boys wearing Christening gowns, the last remaining boy dress.

"One of the criticisms of second-wave feminism is that it framed equality more in terms of girls "being like a boy" than boys being more effeminate." True! "Equality" means women having what men have. When really, what women have is way better. I love being a SAHM!

The story of Baby X was very interesting. I pondered it over a day after reading it and I did figure out the baby's sex! I didn't see that coming.

These days, pink worn by men is usually seen as ironic or humorous. But colorful fashions for men are slowly emerging. The toddler age, after newborn clothes, is sadly lacking in neutral options. It's all PINK or BOY and it drives me crazy. Dalton asked me why he doesn't have any pretty clothes. Because he doesn't like any of the stuff that screams GIRL. Toddlers are a consumer now, and as they are learning to identify with their gender and learn it's permanence, they tend to go to the extreme, hence the girly-girls who wear nothing but pink tutus for months on end. "The more gender binary the children's clothing market becomes, the more it fits the worldview of the three- to five-year-old consumers looking for ways to express an unambigious gender identity." Parents worrying about gender and sexuality issues also often seek out once gender neutral items - a onesie, overalls - now embellished with gender-specific themes.

In addition to the clothing, I am really annoyed at people reinforcing what they believe to be natural attributes of boys and girls. Boys naturally like to wrestle and play with guns. Really? MY boy doesn't. Girls like dolls and dress-up. Really? MY girl doesn't. Now, I do believe that gender characteristics are innate and unique. "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Most women are more naturally nurturing. Men are generally stronger. I also think that we are limiting each other by the gender mold that has been created in our world today. Especially when we limit children in what they can play with, what they can wear, who they can emulate, and with whom they can play (kids must have learned "Boys Only" from somewhere). Like a baby in a dress in the early part of the 20th century just looks like "a baby", let our children just act like "a child."

With the advent of mid-pregnancy ultrasounds revealing sex, people began labeling their baby with a gender even before birth. Is it a he or a she? It's a baby. Does it MATTER?

Christmas Sewing: I got started on Christmas sewing today. I made new stockings for Maggie (Christmas owls) and Dalton (Star Wars) so Sienna can use one of their old ones. I also made something for Rachel. It's amazing how fast things can get done when the baby thinks the sewing machine is funny, and everything is working properly.

Homemade Halloween costumes was as much crafting as I thought I would get done this year, so with my expectations exceeded I have high hopes for Christmas now!

This is such a Mom type journal entry.

Lego Visit: We had a great day at Legoland today. It was beautiful fall weather. We took turns waiting in lines and went on a lot of rides because it wasn't very crowded. Of course, we realized at the end of the day that Sienna hadn't been on a single ride. We also saw a few LEGO characters, and the Star Wars X-Wing model, which is apparently the world's largest LEGO model.

We went in search of an ornament for this year's Christmas tree (though we bought one in Yosemite). For $7.99 you can get a 2x4 Lego brick key chain engraved, so we did that.

They are decorating for Christmas, including some sort of fake snow activity/area in the works. It's no Disney, but it's fun!

Sienna took no nap until we got to the car. Dalton also fell asleep in the car and took a 4 1/4 hour nap. And now, at 10:45 pm, he is wide awake in my bed waiting for me to come snuggle. Yes, please!

Small and Simple Things: Today was one of those Sundays where I paused before entering the church and wondered why I was bothering. Sienna is grumpy during that time. The other kids are distracting. I miss classes trying to get S to take a nap. But I went in and gave it a try.

Sometimes I say that to myself and come home from church wondering the same thing. Today was not one of those days. Every few moments there seemed to be a reminder of why I should be there. Sienna and the kids were actually well-behaved. I got to take the Sacrament, something I missed last week with Sienna. The talks were good. I sang the hymns. I did spend Sunday School in the mother's room/hallway. But then I went to Relief Society and enjoyed a great lesson on service.

In the meantime, I went into the bathroom to change Sienna's diaper. A sister came in and said, "you're such a good mom. I could hear her laughing while you changed her." I said, "she wasn't laughing, she was crying!" Then she expressed sympathy and a kind word to me about being a mom of young children. That small moment buoyed me up and kept going. S was just an angel during RS (other than when I got up to play the piano). I really enjoyed the lesson. I've been feeling lately that all our experiences bring us opportunities to serve others going through those trials later (like the older mom had just done for me). I shared that message tonight when I went visiting teaching to a soon-to-be first time mom.

All these little things made me feel like Heavenly Father really knew my needs and was watching out for me today.

Sick: Among the many things I wanted to do yesterday that did not get done was my daily blog. Boo! It was an unexpectedly busy day and now I have a terrible sore throat, so I iust wanted to go to bed. So, I'll add this for the 18th: I'm thankful for good health.

First Birthday Girl: Happy birthday to my Nenna Girl! One year old. Already her laugh is turning into a little girl laugh and less of a baby laugh. At ONE, Sienna:

Pulls herself up, cruises a little and ponders standing on her own. She is a FAST crawler, and people comment on it.
Has straggly long hair on the top that I'm still trying to comb over to the side. She gets a little pigtail on occasion.
Refuses to nap regularly and will cry 45 minutes before sleeping for 20. She is also done napping anywhere but her crib.
Chews on everything. Toys go in her mouth. Anything the kids leave out. Toilet paper is put up on the counter. I find myself asking her several times a day , "what are you eating?" And fishing something out of her mouth.
Loves baths, but only if Dalton is in there with her. Otherwise she will try to climb out.
Does not like to be left with other people, even people she is familiar with, even with her siblings with her. She also cries in Relief Society every week when I play the opening song.
Bounces to music whenever she hears it. Even if she is half asleep and nursing she will start bouncing.
Loves her crocheted blankies. We keep them in her crib and if she ever sees them out , she will speed-crawl over, bury her face in the blankie and start chewing.
Her other favorite toys include anything with hair she can rip off (Eeyore, Pegasus, horse), toilet paper rolls, handy Manny toolbox, books, her ride-on car and the kitchen and fake food.
Likes playing in the freezer, fridge, pantry, recycling, pot cupboard and shoe basket.
Stiffens up in her car seat if we run too many errands in one day. She doesn't mind the car usually but she doesn't like getting in and out (me neither).
LOVES walks with her Daddy.
Loves dogs, animals and birds.
Signs milk, sleep, all done, more, daddy and is learning dog and bird and signs for Margaret and Dalton.

Sienna's First Birthday: Sienna's first birthday fell on a Tuesday, which is our business day of the week, particular on weeks I am volunteering at the school. She refused naps all day, but she didn't shed a single tear when she spent 2 hours at a friend's house while I was at the school.

We played crazy games in the car during soccer because it was cold outside, then she fell asleep on the drive home. But when she woke up, we had cake! We lit a candle for her and sang to her, and then she got cake, messy face, and a bath.

Her present arrived a day late, but Maggie picked out That's Not My Snowman. We got Dalton That's Not My Train for his first birthday, and she is already enjoying the ride-on car Maggie got for her first birthday.

Maggie: Where are Sienna's presents?
John: I got her a present. I gave her $100.
Maggie: $100! But she doesn't even know what cents are!

1 and 4 Years Old: Dalton and Sienna had well visits at the doctor today. They had six shots and a nose squirt between them! Yikes! Not too many tears though. Dalton was promised three stickers and three suckers from the nurse, and he definitely made good on that.

Dalton had his eyesight and hearing tested (he can see that thing better than I can with my glasses on). He is 33 1/2 pounds (28%) and 40 3/4" tall (56%). He just needs one more shot before Kinder. Ack! (Even though he has another year before Kinder, he has to has them to register for TK.)

Sienna is tall and skinny (gasp) at 17 lb 10 oz (17%) and 29 3/4" (71%).

Maggie will also be going in for a flu mist after school. Hopefully she takes it better than last year when she cried so hard they had to give her a shot instead. EDIT: Maggie handled her nose squirt very well. She weighs 41 lbs.

It's a Great Day, Thanksgiving Day: Margaret had a Thanksgiving play this morning. She even had a big line: "I think I'm beginning to see what Thanksgiving is all about. It's about giving thanks for things that money can't buy, like family and friends, or good health."

She also brought home a cute paper turkey for a centerpiece and some more awesome journals. I love her journals. They really show her personality.

After the play we got an oil change and went to Walmart, Target and Jo-Ann. Sienna was so good during all those errands. She dug an apple out of my purse and ate on it most off the day and that kept her occupied. I think I have everything I need for Thanksgiving except for the turkey, and I have a good start on homemade Christmas gifts, pretty much all for Rachel.

Family Pictures: Today was the long-awaited taking of family pictures. We wanted to do something "California" themed. Apparently it's beaucoup bucks to take pictures at the mission, so we did the beach instead - Laguna Beach (at Heisler Park) for a typical Orange County shoreline. I think they are going to turn out great!

We were worried about rain, but the weather was perfect. The light was amazing. The kids were bribed with ice cream so they would smile nicely and look at the camera with their eyeballs. Sienna didn't cry (even when plopped on damp, pokey rocks). Sand was enjoyed by all.

In the meantime, we decorated for Christmas. John put up lights all along the bushes on the outside of the house. It looks very festive. Yes, we are those people who *gasp* decorated before Thanksgiving. Whatevers.

Here Come the Holidays!: Tomorrow is the first official day of Thanksgiving break. Our house is decorated for Christmas. The heater is on. We have plans. Yay!

Sienna is thrilled with the small Christmas tree we set up. Of course, that one has all the glass ornaments on it, and a tree skirt she wants to pull right off the table. She is happy to just look - for the most part.

Tomorrow we are going to the San Diego Zoo. We also have a Legoland trip planned this week, and lots of cooking. We've bought lots of Christmas gifts, and made some, too. Everything is geared up and I'm ready. Sometimes you just "need a little Christmas" to add a spark.

Koalafornia: Today we made the trek down to the San Diego Zoo again. We each picked one things we wanted to see and planned our visit around that. Dalton loved the flamingos, Maggie the birds, of course. I picked the elephants since we didn't go to that section last time, and also the restaurant over there sounded the best. John enjoyed the koalas and the meerkats. We also saw the polar exhibit, rode the Skyfari each way and saw lots of other things along the way. Sienna loved the whole thing, the flamingos in particular. She gets excited when she sees animals, but a lot of them are hard to see.

The drive is a little too long, especially since we are used to exiting for Legoland half an hour earlier. But at least we didn't hit any traffic today.

November Sun: Maggie had soccer class today. By the time it was over, three other kids had showed up, but she was the only one for quite a while and got some one-on-two time with the coaches. The sun was out and it was a lovely November day to spend an hour lying in the grass and chasing my baby. Well, it was a lovely 45 minutes anyway. The sun went behind a bank of clouds before setting and the last 15 minutes were quite cold. Sienna loves to escape and run all over the grassy field. And eat eucalyptus leaves.

I got started on Thanksgiving cooking today. This better be a fun relaxing holiday, other than the cooking. I'm kind of tired of that mom thing where "vacation" is more work than the rest of the time.

Thanksgiving Prep: I waited in line for half an hour today to buy a turkey breast. Still faster than cooking one, and much, much better.

Sweet Potato Casserole: check
Pumpkin Roll: check
Cheeseball: check
30-Day Shred so I can eat whatever I want: check

We went for a family hike in Quail Hill today. We also started a new tradition of roasting marshmallows for Thanksgiving. John made fancy marshmallows covered in crushed peppermint, oreos, graham crackers and chocolate shavings. We roasted them on skewer sticks over charcoal in the little grate at the park with some friends who happened to be there.

Happy Thanksgiving!: Today was a fabulous Thanksgiving Day filled with lots of food. We also went for a scooter/walk after eating.

But best of all - we got a tree! This is John's first real tree. The house smells sooooo good. It's the perfect shape and he picked out a Fraser fir, which has sturdy needles that don't seem as likely to drop every where. Sienna is very intrigued.

After dinner, an elf stopped by our house and left a note for the kids and a gift he had brought from Uncle Leonard (to be opened on the 1st). The kids spent 15 minutes or so looking around the house for the elf. Dalton said, "I know elves are real." and Maggie was like "duh." No question at all. I love it.

Black Friday: This morning we got up, got ready and packed to go to Legoland. We brought rain coats and umbrellas and no stroller. We got as far as the freeway and changed our mind. Legoland is almost entirely outdoors, including all but one ride. And it's an hour drive in the rain. So we turned around.

Instead, we went to Toys R Us. On Black Friday. It was 9:30 by the time we got there. It was busy, but not insane. We bought a race track for the kids (full-price) and got a $1 pack of play-doh.

Then we went to Old Navy, while we were out. We got shirts for each of the kids, and a scarf for John, and waited in line for 45 minutes to check out.

Then we went to Target, while we were out. Sienna fell asleep in the car, and we left her in her carseat, chewing on a noisy Rudolph toy while we shopped. We scored some great DVD deals. I spotted the last Monsters University near the check out on our way in. John grabbed it and we checked and found that it was indeed the $10 sale one, and indeed the last one on the shelves. We got a few other DVDs for $4-6 and an outfit for Sienna with the cutest sweater leggings.

Still raining, we headed home, quite satisfied.

The End of NaNoBlogMo: Looks like I legitimately forgot to blog yesterday! Oops. The last day of the month, too.

We had some fun activities on Saturday. We went to the temple to see the nativity they had set up, and went to Panera with a gift card, and got some cupcakes. Then, we took the kids to see Despicable Me 2 at the dollar theater. Sienna actually sat through almost all of it. We all enjoyed the movie.

Not a very exciting blog entry to wrap up my NaNoBlogMo Month, but whatever. I blogged mo'.

Random Thoughts: Because John is out of town.

The kids argued over who got to go first at the dentist.

I wrote on my hand for the first time in forever. So old school, but I couldn't take a note on my phone because I was talking on it! Also old school. I don't use the "phone" feature much.

Sienna got her first paying gig. More on that soon, hopefully.

We had egg rolls for dinner and I remembered when we ate egg rolls for lunch in India when we went indoor camping because it was the closest thing to hot dogs I could find.

Lego Santa: Last night the kids and I had a fun semi-Christmasy outing. We went to South Coast Plaza to do the free monthly build at the Lego Store. We had to wait in line forever, but it was a fun little thing for Maggie to do. Then we waited in a much shorter line to visit with Santa. The kids loved it. It's not a cheap cheesy Santa, but a lovely little village and he was great. Even Sienna was enthralled, though not enough to let me put her down. They also have a big Christmas train display.

Afterwards we went to dinner at IKEA since it was nearby, there was traffic going our direction, and it was kids eat free. We got home late, especially having gone straight from school-shopping-soccer, but it was a good time.

Speaking of Lego and Christmas, Leonard sent Maggie another Lego Advent Calendar this year. It's her third one and this year is Star Wars. The kids are loving it!

Gift from Grandma: Dalton tried to guess what Grandma was getting him for Christmas (or, as he says, "Grandpa and Grandpa".) Here are some of his guesses.

Nerf gun
pokey ball
doctor toys
bed stuffed animal (a stuffed bed...)

[Comments] (1) Knock, Knock:
Me: knock knock
Dalton: who's there?
Me: who.
Dalton: who who?
Me: Maggie, there's an owl at the door!
Maggie: gasp! Where? Where??!?!? No, where is it? Why are you laughing?

Lights and Music: Sienna has learned a few more signs. She learned "change" as in changing a diaper. She also knows "music", as it's reinforced quite a bit weekly watching the choristers at church.

She is very interested in outdoor Christmas light displays.

First Sleepover: On Saturday, John and I went to see Catching Fire (which was great). A friend brought her daughter over and watched the kids for us. When we got home, the three kids were asleep in Maggie and Dalton's room with the latch on the door so we couldn't get in. We had to pound on the door and yell for 10 minutes before Maggie woke up enough to open the latch. (Sienna, of course, was much easier to wake up.) She was upset and it took her several minutes to get it open. John immediately got a screwdriver and took the latch off, though we've never had a problem with it before.

The next morning, Maggie didn't remember a thing.

First Grade is Hard: Today at school, Maggie won a no-homework pass. When her clip is all the way up on blue, she can start earning wise owl tickets that can be put in the class treasure box drawing, or put into raffle buckets in the library. The No Homework pass was one of the library raffle buckets. Her name was announced by the principal over the PA with the other winners today.

She told me: I heard some older kids saying that the no homework pass was bad. But then the homework started getting hard and I was freaking out so I put some wise owl tickets in that jar and I won!

The Best Christmas Party Ever: We went to an amazing Christmas party last night. We felt pretty special just to get an invite, but it was so fun. Here's the round-up.

For the kids:
bouncy house
velcro climbing wall
video game bus
baskets full of chips
cookie decorating
rainbow loom
gift exchange
treasure hunt
Despicable Me 2 on repeat
hired adult supervision

Yes, we live somewhere that kids can play outdoors in a bouncy house or open 3 car garage until 10:30pm in bare feet. I think this was the best part. The kids' favorite part was the bouncy house, and I love that we could just leave them be to play with their friends and do as they pleased in the kids area.

For the adults:
White elephant. The rule of the game was anything you left there would be returned to your porch tenfold the next day. The first thing we opened was a picture of a piano. An actual piano they wanted us to take home. LUCKILY, someone else actually wanted the piano, because I would not have been surprised to see an entire band on our porch this morning otherwise.
Lots of food. Everyone brought an appetizer or dessert and there were prizes. The cheese ball snowman Dalton and I made won third place! They also had a hot chocolate bar, a s'mores bar, drinks everywhere, so much food and so delicious
Lots of friends! We didn't know most of the people there. But there were still plenty of people to talk to. And the kids had an amazing time.

It was seriously a great time. The kids, including Sienna, were up until 10:45 and no one seems the worse for wear.

Maggie Grows Up: We had dinner with the entire family at Dad's care center tonight, followed by family pictures. Dalton started throwing up on the way there, slept in the car for 45 minutes, then curled on a chair for the rest of the time.

Maggie was shocked to learn that Ember is 14, Erin is 40 and Ember is taller! When Erin left Maggie said, "Bye 40 year old aunt whose daughter is taller than her!"

Also Tyler asked, "when can we call her Margaret?"

Maggie sat herself between her older cousins for dinner and had some older cousin conversation, but she also enjoyed plenty of giggly time with Kyli.

We stocked up in hand me down snow clothes in all sizes that will do for our three kids. Tomorrow is play in the snow day.

Asleep, Asleep: Since I'm sitting in the car at dad's care center with a sleeping boy (again) I figure I might as well write something.

We're so glad we bought plane tickets to Utah. It was nice not to dread the drive the night before, nor the drive home the entire time here. The kids were good on the airplane, though they kept asking John if we were there yet. Nice little practice trip of our trip to Europe soon.

On Sunday night we went to Temple Square. We took TRAX, saw the lights and watched part of a concert Jodi was participating in. We also ran into a sister missionary serving from Bangalore. Sister Serah was in the primary with me. So fun to see her.

The only other thing we've really done was visit dad. Most of which time I have officially spent in the car. Susan and I cooked today. Between us we made clam chowder, cheese ball, jello jigglers, pumpkin roll and John made a big tray of fresh berries. Were ready for the big Holbrook Christmas party after the visit with Dad.

Boo, Utah: I composed in my head a long complainy post about Utah, but I think I can sum it up in three words and move past the whine: Cold, Sick, Dry.

I am so glad to be back in California. My skin is so happy.

Oh, one more complaint. Utah hair. The kind caused by static, not excessive hairspray use. Not a good look on Sienna.

On the Bright Side: Ok, I have ONE nice thing to say about Utah. Sienna fell down the steep stairs at John's parents' house and now our stairs seem like not a big deal. Hurray for baby-gate-freedom!

(Of course this has nothing to do with Utah in general, and there were other good things of our trip, but those will pretty much be covered in picture form on the other blog. And are mostly family.)



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