Traffic for 2009


[Comments] (5) Ta dum!: I made my first sale today! Sure it's only $20K and the partner made a another sale for $1M today, but it's a start. And I'm working on another bid.

It looks like I get to go back to SoCal this January to work on an old client. I'm very excited to be in greener pastures for a few days.

[Comments] (3) The Perfect Crime: So the 15 has these signs that tell me how many minutes until I get home. They are never right. Even when there is no traffic, it still takes longer than the sign says. I typically hover around 5 miles over the speed limit. So basically it sounds like the government WANTS me to speed to get home in the time allotment they provide for me. I wonder how that excuse would hold up.

I'd love to post more about my doings this past month, but with two managers quitting this week, I've got more work to do than I know what to do with it. If nothing else, it's job security.

[Comments] (2) Maggie & Me: Things Maggie loves:

Eating cereal with me for breakfast; watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"; spelling anything and everything; eating treats; going to nursery; going to the park to swing and slide; reading; when I start to say "daddy loves..." she always interrupts with "mama!"; her three piglets and blanket, that she must sleep with; throwing her balls down the stairs to me, which I toss back up to her; play eating with her fake food; going to the zoo; singing E-I-E-I-O; singing the wheels on the bus with her frog hand puppet; wearing her coat indoors; giving kisses on command.

pray tell: I received a bill in the mail for Maggie's hospital visit for $6,341.02! Never mind that our max out of pocket is $2K, our deductible is $1K, and the excess can only be billed at 15% (meaning the total the can charge me is $1,800).

How could socialized medicine be any worse than this? The turkeys.

[Comments] (2) spring break: Spring is here (at least for the day) so we took full advantage:

Last night we went to the Draper temple open house. While it is a beautiful building, I felt there was a lot of wasted space that could have been used to make a session fit 60 people instead of just 50. Maggie enjoyed that she got to ride a bus to the temple, but was otherwise quite bored. It's not fun having your child be the one to scream in the celestial room because the cattle line is moving so slow. End result is that a 3-hour tour is too much to ask to visit 10 rooms in a temple 3 miles from our house. Even if there are cookies.

This morning I surprised Susie and Maggie for a belated V-Day and we went bowling! For some reason, I thought Susie was a better bowler than I, but I beat her 80-47. The morning bowling crowd is huge; lots of people were there at 9 am with us. Susie thinks the lady behind us was laughing at our pitiful attempt to hit the pins down as her 10 year-old seemed to compile strike after strike. But I told Susie at least we were playing, rather than just sitting on our duffs eating deep fried bowling food at 10 am like she was. I got four spares and Susie got a strike!

I should mention that Maggie did not like the gist of bowling. She cried everytime someone threw a ball because it disappeared. We taught her how they come back and that seemed to quell most of her fears. She also didn't like it when the pins got knocked down, the sensitive thing. I guess bowling is too violent for her tender disposition.

Next we went at bought Maggie a bed for her birthday! We can pick it up next week. The headboard is a white picket fence motif. Maggie loved laying on all the beds at the store, and still remembers we bought her a white bed with purple sheets.

We also bought her some new clothes, now that she is finally growing. Babies R Us is a fun store; I always want to buy Maggie lots of dresses there.

Then we came home and I went running OUTSIDE because it's such a nice day! Later we're going to the park. I also perused the backyard today and noticed that the weed seed has been busy this winter. Weeding is a dirty job but somebody's got to do it. Time to go clean up.

It was nice to take a break in the midst of busy season and enjoy at least one weekend not working.

[Comments] (5) when commandments conflict: Susie and I discussed at length yesterday the state of the economy. My brother was asked to take a 15% pay cut at his job, and is already needing assistance to make ends meet. We've also seen people in our ward have to move because they apparently bought more house than was prudent. Yet every week in church we are taught to be self-sufficient. The Mormon pioneers lived in "Deseret" meaning honeybee, meaning industry. We are constantly told to have a food storage, a savings account, to avoid most kinds of debt, etc.

Yet we are also commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. We have been "advised" (not commanded, as far as I am concerned) to be careful in delaying marriage and our child-bearing years.

So. How does one achieve self-sufficiency when one is encouraged to marry in his/her early twenties and have children before a career is started? Don't these two ideas conflict?

But that's my gospel, as I understand it. The great balancing act.

Other conundrums include:

1. Being advised to spend as much time with family, but also being given demanding church callings. Meeting after redundant meeting.

2. Being advised to sacrifice work progression for family, but still maintaining that self-sufficiency. I mean, how many times, realistically, can I tell the boss to do it himself so I can go home early, without getting canned?

3. Following the word of wisdom. I mean, this one's two-fold. Workout time is away from family, but is it not essential? And how can I stay fit when the state of UT is obsessed with ice cream?

4. Quality vs quantity. Mormons are commonly known for being "advised" (again, not commanded) to carefully consider not limiting family size. But we are also commanded to spent quality time with our children, and still make time for a spouse in there! How does that work, when one also works, serves as a Bishop, volunteers at the cannery once a month, attends the temple regularly, home teaches, etc?

Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my family, I sacrifice sleep to have it all. I NEVER sleep past 8, and am normally up by 6:30. I try and workout and work late at night/early in the morning so that when Maggie wakes up I'm ready to play with her. I try and come home before 7 to spend time with her before bed, even if it means going back to work at 8 pm. But this solution doesn't work for everyone; even I can only handle it 6 months of the year I'm crazy busy.

I told my sister, who plans to work after she has kids, that this is the only way I've figured out to not feel guilty for neglecting my family and still meeting my obligations to the best of my ability. She cringed. But we do what me must, when commandments conflict.

[Comments] (2) two years happy: Maggie is very excited to be two, because she got a slide, a new dress, pink balloons, a big girl bed, and her entire room madeover (see Susie's picture blog for details).

I can't believe I have a two year-old. Time flies when you're that cute I suppose. Happy Birthday, little bug!

Yes!: happiness is a clean car on a bright, sunny Friday!

movers and shakers: As of January 1 of this year, six houses were for sale on our street alone. Now we are down to one. Five houses have sold in two months. As of January 1 of this year, we had zero flowers in our front yard. We now have 30 buds waiting to blossom. It's nice to see the changes warm weather can bring to a dilapidated housing market and a hibernating garden.

[Comments] (3) Deal or no deal: Yesterday I took a break from work to go car shopping. What an ordeal. Susie and I are apparently ultra-picky, because the car we want simply doesn't exist. So, we will most likely settle for the RAV4. It's a new 2009 with optional third row seating. Apparently people don't like optional third row seating in a crossover. People want third row seating in a gas guzzling tank, or in a minivan. But since I care about fuel efficiency, and am not forty, the RAV4 with the third row is our pick. Said third row will remain in its down position for many years to come, but since we are buying this car with the future in mind, and expect the car to last ten years, there you have it.

It was fun to test drive a car, and Maggie enjoyed riding in the golf cart to the car. She also enjoyed playing in the showcase cars. And, believe it or not, I had fun playing hard ball.

We decided how much we would pay, which was about $5K less than the dealer wanted. We never budged on price, and walked away. Then we came home and checked other dealers. Apparently the dealership wasn't lying, so we're going to go back this week and buy it for $3K less than they want. I figure, I hate playing these pricing games, but I won because I got them closer to my number than their number. It was less intimidating because I pretended I was on a game show and the salesman was Howie Mandel.

FYI to car dealers, showing me other cars in my price range is not the answer. I don't want a highlander, because it's too big, the third row seat is all one piece (in the fab RAV4, you can have one or both seats down), and the car had twice as many miles than I told them I would consider in a used car.

I've never had a new car before. I'm getting excited! May the pathfinder rest in peace. It scares me to drive it anymore.

[Comments] (2) smarty pants: Today I'm wearing a jersey-looking shirt with the number 13. I didn't play on any teams or anything in acquiring this shirt. Anyway, Maggie looked at me wearing it and said "One, three!" over and over again.

Eventually that got old. She looked up at me and said "Daddy, where did two go?" What a brilliant little bug.

[Comments] (7) quickie: Quick break before I go insane: worked until nearly 1 am, back to it by 9 this morning, with no end in sight. Well, end in sight, obviously, is April 15th. It seems like no end in sight.

Susie and I are expecting baby sprout on October 3, 2009. It is entirely possible sprout will not come until October 12, however, if history has anything to do with it. Maggie knows there is a baby in mommy's tummy, but we're not sure if she knows what that means.

[Comments] (5) the anti-hijack: Rather than hijack a very lengthy comment on Sumana's blog, my response is thus: "But [Jon] Stewart is saying that our wealth, the prize that we've earned, isn't money, but our ability to earn money. Our asset is the ability to create assets."

Yes! People that have gobs of money are not necessarily happy, because spending money brings but momentary pleasure. But the ability to earn the money you spend helps you take ownership of spending choices and pride in what you buy.

Additionally, I find it very satisfying to get paid. But I find it equally satisfying to add value in the workplace. It is very rewarding to see a project end, and know that, without me, the outcome may have been different, even wrong. I get excited when I add value. The idea of punching in and punching out never made sense to me, yet many employed people do little more than clock-watch all day.

We had layoffs this past week, and while I feel for those "who will continue their careers outside of the firm," as the man put it, these people cared little for the value of work.

While there are plenty of CEOs to blame, tis true that many people trusted them for no other reason that they were invested in their product and had to likewise peddle it to sustain the bubble of easy street earnings. I think we would all do well to remember that nothing in life is free, contrary to what the MLM gigs of the world would have you believe.

My church often talks about work being an eternal principle. The very idea of eating bon bons on a cloud in the eternities is simply incorrect. We believe we will be working, having families, creating worlds, managing said worlds, etc. The prerequisites to do the above will require a deep understanding of science, management, and other soft skills. I certainly am not qualified for the above, but I'm willing to learn it when the time comes. I wonder how many will effectively opt out because the road is too hard?

park in the dark: Our neighborhood hosted a flashlight egg hunt. When we arrived just before dark, I could see hundreds (possibly thousands) of eggs scattered everywhere. I thought, well this will be lame. But once it was dark, it was harder to find them. Especially in the back of the park where the grass was unkempt and very long.

Though it was already 30 minutes past Maggie's bedtime, she was wide awake and rearing to go. She was slow, to be sure, but she sure enjoyed gathering her eggs. I had to help her out a lot, and sometimes the egg my light was shining on would be snatched before Maggie could waddle over to me, but she had fun anyway.

People that used to live in our neighborhood but have since moved away all came back for the gala. It's clearly a very popular event and quite the eggstravaganza.

[Comments] (2) in the spotlight: Yesterday I got to take a break from work and go get glamourshots! Apparently we put pictures and bios in our big proposals, and since this was my first one, I got to go through the ringer.

The photographer was really nice, but it felt wierd to be taking pictures to give to clients. Why should they care what I look like? Competence is not based on looks.

I tried to pawn the bio off on a coworker and told them to think of it as an eulogy, but no one was biting.

[Comments] (2) One nation under the sun: No surprise, President Obama is taking a lot of flack in UT for saying the US is not a Christian nation. As for me, I tend to agree with Obama. If we're a Christian nation, how come I have to work on Good Friday?

[Comments] (1) holiday fever: Maggie seems to have her first understanding of a holiday, thanks mainly to various neighborhood/community egg fights (I can't in good faith call it a hunt when the eggs are scattered on the floor in plain sight and the parents line their kids up to grab as many as possible at the sound of a fire engine horn), and Charles Schulz. She even gave the Easter Bunny at IKEA a hug for a treat, which is huge for such a shy little thing. Today she practically crawled under grandma's car in her church dress to give the cat one of her pieces of candy.

We didn't give each other anything for Easter this year, other than candy-filled eggs, because it just seemed like the right thing to do. I think this decision was spurred partly by my souring to a story of a coworker's wife scouring the valley for 3 matching Gymboree dresses for her daughters and the fact that, at the end of busy season, the best gift is time with my family. Susie and I concur that the former is totally a woman thing; I get zero pleasure at the thought of my children wearing matching outfits, let alone frilly Easter ones that they wear once at Easter and grow out of. It was nice to simplify Easter.

Due to a cold, wet spring here in UT, we spent two hours at IKEA on Saturday. Maggie was in heaven. She enjoyed having us all sit on different furniture and stare at each other. She also enjoys playing on the toys in the kids section, including a rocking moose and a tent just her size. She also had to point out all the arrows on the floor by lying down on them. We didn't buy anything but got some nice, dry exercise away from the rain.

3 more days!

[Comments] (4) Marry Me!: Susie and I spent last night at the condo in Park City and had a decent time, despite the fact that it was 30 degrees and snowing and Maggie slept in that small double bed with us, and even then kept screaming all night. Will spring ever come this year?

After we put Maggie to bed, Susie and I always watch a movie at the condo. It's about the only time we watch movies, and since we only go to the condo twice a year to celebrate the end of a busy season, we see precious few flicks. That being said, we normally try and see something that has a local buzz. The movie this time was "Mamma Mia!" and I personally thought it was horrid.

But a critique of the movie is not the point; who knew you could write a hit musical all around the songs of a Swedish band? I assume ABBA is more or less a one-hit wonder because Susie only recognized "Dancing Queen" and I recognized two others, but not by name.

The point is, what other bands could we do this with? U2 comes immediately to mind, and Pink Floyd must be a possibility, what with the endless laser shows at planetariums across the world dedicated to them. The Beatles, maybe? Or are they too popular to get away with it? Any others? I told Susie that I'm tired of busy seasons so she and Rachel should write one based on Coors music and it could be Mamma Mia in reverse, set in Ireland, a young bridegroom desires his real mother to walk him down the aisle....

We also discovered a back way to downtown from the condo down Monitor Drive that puts you within walking distance of Prospector Square, so now we can walk to our dining choices. I would love to live somewhere that has that suburban feel at my house but yet is within walking distance of the downtown proper. I've decided precious few communities offer this, and most tend to be in cooler climates, but maybe I can retire somewhere like that.

Lastly, Maggie must have watched a Hitchcock movie lately because she makes me taste everything before she'll sample it herself. I'm getting tired of always getting her two of whatever she wants, just so she can give me one of them. I'm trying to lose weight after busy season, not gain it. She's always up to something.

[Comments] (2) lee scoresby: The Park City McDonald's has stepped it up a notch, with flat screen tv's as far as the eye can see, including in the powder room. CNN was on, and they were discussing TX's ridiculous desire to secede from the Union. Pooh Pooh.

Doesn't TX understand what the civil war was about? I think too many Americans think it was about slavery, which is incorrect. The Civil War was about states rights, and the fact that SC and the followers had no legal right to secede from the Union, because the federal government trumps state governments and the federal government did not allow them to leave.

I'd be ok if TX left, however. The so-called immigration problem would now be theirs alone to battle--good luck with that one. I personally don't think immigration is a problem, because since I'm unwilling to pick the grapes of wrath, far be it from me to deny someone else the pleasure. And it is also my opinion that undocumented workers are the problem of the employer, not the employee, but I digress.

I wonder how the Walch family views this whole fiasco. Kristen and Aaron may find themselves trapped in a foreign country before they get the chance to move!

[Comments] (1) the best things in life are not free: but fortunately, they only cost a dollar. Maggie has enjoyed three nights in a row at the park, her favorite place in the world. Sunday night we watched people flying kites. Maggie insisted she be given a turn, so we had to take her home kicking and screaming. We bought her a Cars kite today and had the skies to ourselves (less the hang gliders). Pictures at I'm too lazy to post the link.

Apparently my daughter really is precocious, because I remember HATING kite flying growing up because I couldn't do it, and here is my two year-old, flying a kite while she plays with some cat, looks at the deer on the mountain, and points at the swings and slides. It's a moment I wish I could put in a bottle and relive during some future catastrophe.

[Comments] (1) healthy addiction: I'm officially addicted to Naked Juice, which is not a bad thing on its own. After all, a pound of fruit a day has a lot to offer a person. However, the unhealthy part of the addiction comes in the price tag--$4 a bottle. I guess I'm stuck with only affording it as part of my trip per diems. Luckily my Wednesday jaunt to San Jose should suffice until I go to Dallas in a week and a half.

: why do we let kids be two? our next one is going from one to three.

[Comments] (1) hit the road: A coworker bought a house a street over from ours in March, and since the demise of busy season, we have been carpooling. It's been just grand to whiz by all the accidents in the carpool lane and to keep a few miles off my car. It's also been nice to have some meaningful car conversations to help pass the time. Hopefully we can keep this up for a while.

[Comments] (1) on the road again: In TX enjoying some good BBQ and avoiding messin' with anybody.

[Comments] (2) : This week has not been good to us, but is full of entertainment value for the masses. Firstly, last Friday, our basement flooded. It's from the neighbor's sprinklers, which everyone says means he (his insurance) should pay for it. But he hasn't. My goal today is to go ask him about that, since it's been a money pit getting it fixed. Why our insurance guy didn't tell us he should pay for it is utterly ridiculous. Some people are only interested in a paycheck and not in doing their jobs. All he cared about was telling us that he would cover it, but our deductible would basically throw the entire liability back on us. But on the plus side, I have learned a lot about the carpet laying. Maybe I can qualify as a carpet-bagger now.

Second, yesterday, around 3:30, a coworker tells me that he thinks he saw a homeless person sleeping in my car when he walked by it at lunch time, 3 hours previous. After yelling at him, I went over there and lucky me, no homeless person. He did, however, leave me his coat, shoe, and smell as a calling card. I spent most of last night cleaning my car, including deoderizer into the carpets and upholstery and sanitizing spray over all hard surfaces. I think my carpool buddy didn't lock his door, because it does not appear my car was broken into, nor did he touch or take anything out of my car.

This morning my carpool buddy called to tell me we couldn't carpool today. His basement is flooded. So, now that I am a flood expert, I went over and helped him clean up the disaster.

I'm pretty sure God's mad at me.

[Comments] (2) Picture it: Last night we went for a walk in Corner Canyon and Maggie had the time of her life. She sat in her stroller and ate her fav: Teddy Grahams. Then she got to see goats! Then on the way home we had the perfect view of the Draper Temple and Maggie couldn't stop pointing at it and saying "mama daddy temple." Then a woman on horseback joined us on the trail. And then it starting raining on us (one of those wierd storms where it rains but the sun's out) and then came out the most beautiful rainbow! It arched from Lone Peak right next to the temple and was breathtaking. Maggie finally saw it (after much pointing) and now she knows a new word.

But Maggie's favorite part was her shoulder-back ride and looking for bugs. She loves bug hunting, and beetles are in season in Draper. It was a very fun walk.

baby blue: We're having a boy! Susie & I were both right this time. I really wanted a boy the first go around, and got a girl. This time, I really didn't care, and got a boy. I am glad to even up the gender numbers in the house, but would have been happy either way. Everyone we know that is pregnant right now is having girls, so I guess we get to stand out now. I have a feeling that raising this boy will be substantially different from raising Maggie. I hope I'm up for the challenge.

Now we need to go through all Tyler's baby clothes from 2001 and see what is still usable.

[Comments] (4) mayday: It's been an exciting few days:

1. I ran all the way to the end of the Porter Rockwell Trail! It was a 7-mile run and I did it in about 75 minutes. I wish I could find a good 10K here; it seems like it's 5K to half marathon only. I'm not sure I'm ready for a half yet.

2. We made yesterday a Provo day, including eating Rubio's with Frances and Roy, and gave them flowers and an "It's a Boy!" card that Maggie colored in. We also perused BYU. Maggie enjoyed the Eyering Science Center, the Richards Building, and the Tanner Building most. She was also obsessed with the "Y" on the mountain. We wore her out traversing campus, because she slept the whole way home. Traffic was horrible in UT county, so that explains why this is a yearly pilgrimage only.

3. Today we cleaned the chapel and luckily I had two elders to help me, which is two more than they got last week. Cleaning grubby handprints off so many glass doors apparently takes 90 minutes.

4. We bought some sleeping bags today (which is our mother's and father's day gifts to each other). Maggie thinks they are fab.

5. We settled on a boy's name: Dalton. Everyone heard "dolphin" over the phone, for some reason. We're still working on a middle name, but, needless to say, it won't be James, nor will be it John.

Tomorrow we head to the cabin after church.

[Comments] (1) mixed bag: Susie and I had a fab weekend, including vacuuming up spiders at the church, and having what I hope will become an annual "downtown day." We hiked Ensign Peak (which was much harder than I remembered, so Kudos to my pregnant wife for completing the hike). We also hit the Planetarium, lunch at CPK with Alyssa, Susie's cousin, and Temple Square. Temple Square included a visit to the Christus, wherein Maggie saw Jesus' owies. I explained that Jesus got those owies so we could be happy. Nothing makes religious stories more fantastical to me than when I explain them to kids (try explaining the Christus to someone that can't understand the Atonement, eternal marriage, etc). Maggie got to ride on the train, which she slowly eased into. Maggie was also the only child that simply watched the kids play in the water at the Gateway Olympic park. She certainly is a timid, rational child ("I can't go in there, my clothes will get wet"). But the highlight of Maggie's day was the U on the mountain. Perhaps next year we will hike to the U (it looks to be a much easier hike that to the Y).

Today I am informed that I am now a major stakeholder in GM, a bankrupt company. This certainly validates my decision to buy a Toyota RAV 4 last March!

[Comments] (2) Candice Bergen: When I was a kid, I thought Murphy's Law had something to do with that show Murphy Brown. I was so little I never watched the show, but that's what I thought.

Anyway, tonight Susie and I headed up to Solitude to walk around Silver Lake with a few friends. We decided not to bring the camera, because we have enough pictures of outdoor excursions this year, between Yellowstone, Timp Cave, the Tetons, and Cascade Springs.

Well. We saw a moose. This was not just any moose. This moose sat there the whole time we were there, just eating dinner, not minding us at all, less than 500 feet away. I would have mistaken him for Thidwick, if there had been animals perched on his head. And there we were without a camera!

I kept telling my family in Yellowstone not to fret about moose findings, as we have them in UT. Unfortunately, without a camera to prove it, they'll just have to take my word on the subject.

[Comments] (3) material girl: Since Draper was recently pronounced the 22nd best city in the USA, Susie & I deemed it apropos to participate in the Draper Days activity this weekend. Yesterday morning we took Maggie to the parade, wherein she procured gobs of candy, most of which is salt water taffy. It was nice to see parents telling their kids to leave some on the road for Maggie, since she's a little slow at the candy-nabbing.

In the evening it was off to the horse pull, an event I've never before heard of, but only only $4 instead of the $20 we would have spent on a rodeo. I don't care much for rodeos, other than the nostalgic aspect of going with my grandparents every year in Lehi, because a part of me still thinks it's a socially acceptable form of animal cruelty. But I digress. The horse pull. Apparently each team takes turn pulling various weights 20 feet and it's a slow process of elimination. It was kind of slow, but was fun for a nighttime activity. Maggie of course kept asking when it was her turn to ride the horses, and I finally took her over to pet one of the horses for a while. She's two and already wants a pony.

Throughout all of the festivities, Maggie had no accidents. She's slowly getting the hang of this potty training thing. It will be nice to not have 2 kids in diapers simultaneously.

Last night we watched the fireworks from our porch. Then it was off to bed, after a long day of doing it Draper style. I enjoy community events, like the yearly parade and egg hunts, and enjoy living in a community that does stuff like this.

[Comments] (3) 29?: Let's do this thing.

[Comments] (2) gadgets and gizmos: I joined the 21st century today, by upgrading to a free Blackberry and linking my work email to the account. I'm rather weary of how to use it, but I think it will be nice to have. People keep asking me if I'm excited to be "chained" to my email. Actually, I am.

Picture it: a client calls me Friday night promising to send me work that must be done over the weekend. Not knowing when it's coming, and wanting to get it done early and not work on Sunday, I stay home all weekend pacing my laptop waiting.

No more. Now I can do what I want, where I want, knowing that, when the file comes, my handy dandy Blackberry will alert me to go home and work on the file. Bliss!

I got a Pearl flip, which is a pain not having a full keyboard, I've already decided, but I'm still happier to have it for it's small size. I can't picture myself wearing one of those holster things. I'm not that hip-py. But thinking about it always reminds me of that scene in "Hook" when Robin Williams 'draws' his brick cell phone against a coworker, in sort of a nod to the John Wayne days of yore. Yeah, that's so not me.

weekend @ Bernie's: I have been super duper efficient at work this week, insomuch that I am all caught up for the time being. So, I'm going to enjoy this weekend!

Plans involve hiking to Cecret Lake (pronounced Secret), building up our food storage from the very nice surpise bonus check that came in the mail today from my employer), and possibly going to a cabin party so Maggie can ride a train.

My firm has also decided to audit my health care dependents. I'm assuming I was chosen at random, but it seems like quite a slam dunk for me to prove I'm married and have a two year-old.

[Comments] (3) Rainmaker: Every time Susie & I even think of escaping to the mountains for the weekend, it rains. We got absolutely soaked and muddy on our hike this morning, but Maggie loved holding the umbrella! Once it stopped, she kept asking for more rain.

We still had some fun indoor activities. I dusted off the old Nintendo 64 and Maggie got her first taste of video games in the form of Mario Kart.

[Comments] (2) box seats: It appears that my crummy blog now features on the newsbruiser above all others, less the host and hostess. I feel like I'm in that Seinfeld episode wherein everyone is competing for the highest speed dial ranking.

Two more weeks of pure hell and I can sleep again. Then again, we're having a baby soon. Maybe not. Maybe I'll never sleep again.

[Comments] (1) pillow talk: I rewarded myself and bought a nice pillow. I normally buy the $10 pillow variety, so to spend $30 on a pillow is a big deal. I do love it; unfortunately, I don't spend enough time in bed with it these days. One more week!

[Comments] (4) all things dalton: The 15th came and went, as it does each year, and I'm slowly catching up on sleep and whatnot. Yesterday morning I went to temple and performed initiatory for Grandpa Dalton, and this morning I vicariously performed his endowment. Susie completed Grandma Rosie's work some time before, but now they are caught up and ready to be sealed to their parents and each other. This will take place tomorrow. It's nice having a temple 4 miles away so I can jaunt over there as my schedule permits.

Susie & I are also getting ready for the new Dalton. I believe we've settlend on a middle name, William, and Susie has started dilating. It appears Dalton wants out of the womb, unlike Maggie, who ferociously clung to the womb as long as possible. I'm still hoping for an October baby, so hopefully Dalton doesn't want out too badly.

Everyone, including Maggie, is very excited to meet him! His nursery is all set, though we still want for some boy clothes.

Tomorrow is Susie's birthday, meaning another pilgrimage to Park City is in the works. Park City will be gorgeous, as the leaves have begun to change. I love the post-September 15th world!

[Comments] (3) PT NO?: Unfortunately for me, some major work came in on September 16, requiring me to juggle my supposed time off with meeting some one-off client expectations.

But we made it to Park City, so Maggie could ride a big swing, otherwise known as a ski lift. She also rode the alpine slide. She really wanted to ride the yellow car on the Alpine Coaster, but I had to keep reminding her that she can't until she turns 3. And within the last week, she has become very excited to turn 3.

She's obsessed with the letters on the mountain, and knows that daddy works by the U on the mountain. She's also obsessed with saying the prayer now. She can say "Heavenly Father thank you for this day" all on her own. Nope, no vain repetitions in this family....

At the condo in Park City, we told her it was Uncle Justin's, but since she has a cousin Justin, she kept calling it Tyler's house, the name of her other cousin. But she never asked where Tyler was, or why we were staying at his house. She wasn't too keen to spend the night there, but did well once she fell asleep. Though Susie's birthday is now over, Maggie keeps repeating that for mommy's birthday we are going on a big swing.

Maggie also likes to go shopping. She likes playing at Carter's, our favorite kid store, because they have toys. We like shopping at Carter's because it's not as pretentious as Gymboree, Children's Place, GAP Kids, Pottery Barn, or any other name brand child's store. Name brand kid's clothing is so silly to me, but a lot of parents just can't resist. She especially loves Harmon's, because they have the fancy carts that let her drive the little car in front. Sometimes we go to Harmon's just to let her ride in the car. It's a smart move for Harmon's, since I normally end up grabbing a Naked Juice on the way out.

Other Maggie-isms include going boom boom boom down the stairs, screaming at the top of her lungs that she went potty and washed her hands in public places, refusing to wear half of her wardrobe, when something is missing or has been returned to the library or whatnot having her say "go find it?".

I finished the newest Grisham, The Associate, but I didn't like it. I live the life of billing in six minute increments, so reading about it was not all that enjoyable.

[Comments] (9) Namaste: You've just survived busy season; what are you going to do next? I'm moving to India! From July 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010, the John & Susie Chadwick clan will be living the ______ life in Bangalore, working with our shared services office there.

More details to come later; tonight, we celebrate!

[Comments] (2) foxy loxy: Yesterday was my yearly jaunt to Jackson, WY, aboard a private jet. This year we took the smaller one, and boy did the ride feel more bumpy. We also had to take off twice in Jackson because we forgot someone in our return party! Taking off twice in a small plane like that made me quite ill.

I also saw a fox! It was beautiful, picture perfect, with it's reddish hair and white-tipped tail. It was injured and just came limping down the driveway while we were all working. I normally don't say much at these meetings, as I am most likely the only one at the table making less than a six-figure salary. But when I spotted that beautiful creature I had to interrupt and point him out.

In the interest of being confidential, I won't dispense with the usual stories this year, of which there are plenty. It's always a fun trip, though it did seem to wear me out a lot more than last year.

: Welcome to UT, land of two seasons: too hot and too cold. It was 90 degrees on Tuesday and was only 55 degrees today.

Susie's doctor seemed to think that the storm that forced us into winter would induce labor. No such luck. Oh well, induction on the 9th suits us just fine. Maggie was also born on Friday the 9th, and as Mother Goose teaches, Friday's child is loving and giving.

[Comments] (1) what's in a day?: So Susie & I got curious yesterday and looked up our birth date of the week. I was born on Tuesday, which means I'm full of grace. That's interesting because I think the name John means, in Hebrew, the grace of God.

Susie was born on Friday, which means that, like Maggie, she too is loving and giving. And if Dalton stays in for two more days, which all signs seem to point to, then he too will be loving and giving. Can't hurt to live in a household full of loving and giving people, I would imagine.

I hope Dalton does delay two more days, as Wednesday's child is full of woe, and Thursday's child has far to go.

Maggie is quite excited for Dalton, and talks of his coming out party. She has yelled for him to come out, and seemed quite perplexed when I told her that Dalton can in fact hear her talking. She's also excited to watch a new movie we got for her to take to Grandma's house when Dalton debuts.

Lately Maggie has taken an interest in matching, and since we don't have memory, we've been using face cards. Does that make me evil? She also really enjoyed playing Candy Land. I won a brand new Chutes and Ladders game last Christmas in a white elephant exchange, so that may end up being her present from the Great Pumpkin this year, since she seems ready for it. She certainly has a personality of her own that people find irresistable.

Irresistable or not, though, we have had to modify our time out policy. Sometimes Maggie does mean things just to get time out. Sheesh. If you want to go play on your bed, go play on your bed already. So time out is no longer on the bed. We threaten her with time out in the bath tub, and it seems to be working. She also pretends to go potty to get a treat sometimes. Pavlov would be proud.

[Comments] (1) patience on the side: Apparently I'm not the only impatient one waiting for Dalton. Susie was induced around 9, and I arrived at the hospital around 10, after dropping Maggie off at Grandma's house. When Susie had only dilated to a 3 in mid-afternoon, I began to dread another really really late one. But by 4:51 pm Dalton had arrived!

I tried to send a mass pix text to everyone in my phone about 45 minutes after Dalton was born, but it didn't like me. I know some people think waiting 45 minutes for a picture is a long time, but this is my baby and I will snuggle him as long as I want, and send pictures AFTER I'm satisfied.

Since attempt 1 didn't work, attempt 2 was to try to text one by one. Most people got that picture, though some still did not. Anyway, without further ado, and before I collapse from exhaustion, please check out Susie's picture blog for a day in the life of Dalton (ie a day in the life of a day).

Maggie seems to be taking out her aggression on me instead of Dalton. After I finally got her to bed and finished crying, I decided I'd rather she take it out on me than on Susie or Dalton. She certainly has been spoiled though; not only did she get a baby brother, everyone who brought Dalton a present also brought one to Maggie! Two year-olds can certainly be cruel. Hopefully getting Dalton home tomorrow and well-snuggled will ease my pain, as he is the master snuggle baby thus far.

prognosis positive: I'm getting the hang of this parenting gig much better the second go-round. I sleep through Dalton in the night, and nothing freaks me out. With Maggie, I think I was constantly worrying "her fontenal is sunken"; "she sleeps too much/she doesn't sleep enough"; "she eats too much/she doesn't eat enough"; "she poops too much/she doesn't poop enough" etc.

With Dalton, I'm much calmer. Come what may is the attitude. And I think it not only makes for a calmer parent, but for a calmer baby.

He's a good boy who hardly fusses and cries so softly it's hard to even hear him. I wonder how long it will last....

[Comments] (2) parental pride: Today I took Maggie to church. She procured two Smarties packs while there. On the way home, she asked if she could give one to Dalton. When we got home, Dalton was sleeping, so she put it in his crib. *beaming with pride*

[Comments] (2) this just in: Dalton discovers his pacifier. Parental reaction is mixed. More at 11.

[Comments] (2) Ode to Deseret: It started snowing this morning, ruining our plans to go to the Corn Maze. Luckily, we went a few weeks ago. But poor Rachel did not get to go. So instead I took Maggie on her first Chuck E Cheese outing. It snowed the whole time we were there, only to stop once we got home. Snow must know how I despise driving it in.

But I think Rachel got to experience all four seasons in her two weeks here!

a brief respite: After a very chilly week, Friday the 30th turned out quite pleasant for the annual Trunk or Treat. My Charlie Brown costume was a huge success, so I always said "Thank you, and this is Lucy" as I doubt any one understood who Maggie was. She doesn't care. In fact, she's wearing the dress to church today!

We took Dalton to Trunk or Treat, but dutifully sat in the back corner with him in his car seat covered with a blanket all night. A few people thought we were "brave," but it's not like we were passing him around. Alas, some people can't help but to pass judgment on others, I suppose. We did let a few close friends peek under the blanket at him. He appears to have come out of the event unscathed. Last night he handed out treats with Grandma while we accompanied Maggie around town. Maggie had a blast; I think she will finally be into Christmas this year.

[Comments] (3) gimme a break: Every time someone congratulates me on having a baby boy, they always follow it up with "Oh, and now you have a boy and a girl, so you're all done!"

What, may I ask, is wrong with having more than two kids? And what, may I ask, is wrong with being content with what you have and not keep making babies in order to get the gender numbers you desire? I expect some of these comments from some people, by when it comes from a Mormon, it is especially irksome. Be warned.

[Comments] (2) miss communication: For my birthday, Rachel bought me a Patagonia shirt with a whale on it that says, "protect your elders." I suppose it is in a similar vein to "respect your elders" but for endangered species that tend to have life spans much in excess of the homo sapien. But if I had a nickel for everyone that thought it referenced the LDS church Elder's Quorum, I'd have a handful of nickels.

Then Thursday I went to the dentist. Apparently I have sprouted a baby tooth in the very back of my mouth. But I've had my wisdom teeth out, I proclaimed. Are you sure, asks the dentist? Um....who can really forget the 3 painful days of a jell-o diet and chipmunk cheeks. His assistant said they can grow back. Just like tonsils, she announced. There you have it.

I have to get it pulled. Sounds painful, I exclaimed. No, you won't feel a thing, she reassured me. We'll give you novocaine. Oh, since when does the shot of novocaine not hurt?

[Comments] (1) just wikipedia it: Maggie has learned the word scary, but doesn't seem to understand fully what it means. Sometimes the table is scary. The other night, the song "Little Drummer Boy" was scary. The Care Bears are scary. Problem is, I'm not sure how to correct her definition of scary. Should I show her "Pet Cemetary," for example, to illustrate that the Care Bears really aren't all that scary? I think not.

I will tell you what is scary, the Christening clothing market. I refuse to spend $150 on white pants, vest, cufflinks, and hideous bow tie, on an outfit Dalton will wear for 30 minutes. I checked the handbook and it doesn't say that the outfit even has to be white, so he's gonna wear a white shirt, grey pinstripe pants, and a red vest. This outfit was only $20, and can be worn again until he grows out of it.

[Comments] (2) misnomer: In-n-Out officially opened all their UT stores yesterday. I'm told the wait time was approximately 90 minutes. For a burger. Granted, my favorite burger, but still. When I went to the dentist this morning for the wisdom tooth extraction, he said clients were late for appointments waiting for said burgers.

I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. I really need a break from work, and Maggie just loves "Daddy home day." I have a self-imposed list of things to do, including decking the halls, possibly re-painting our bedroom, setting up Dalton's college fund (started it last night), and planning for his Christening after-party. Hopefully there will still be time to relax and snuggle my children.

[Comments] (3) kiss the cook: Yesterday we had a nice Thanksgiving feast at the cabin. I made pumpkin creme brulee and cranberry smoothies.

A few months ago, when Rachel was here, she read Julie & Julia. I mentioned that Rachel should try the cooking experiment and write a book. She could mimic Rachel Ray, and it could be a Rachel versus Rachel book. We also observed that, one day, Dalton could do the same thing with Alton Brown. Now we just need to find someone whose name rhymes with Barefoot Contessa and we're all set for a mini-series!

The tree is trimmed, the house is decked, and the lights are hung. Incidentally, most of the Christmas presents are already wrapped and under the tree.

We also bought filled our stockings with a trip to Pirate-O's today. How that place can still smell like wet dog a year later makes no sense, but there you have it. The owner kept foisting marzipan on me, even though I was already purchasing some. We're ready for Christmas in Draper.

ecocomics: I just watched the latest episode of "The Office" entitled "Shareholder Meeting." I think they finally hit spot on what is wrong with the world in 2009. I couldn't help but clap when Michael ran out to take the limo home after all that had happened. Maggie now thinks I'm wierd (she was watching Dumbo on the telly while I watched my show on my laptop next to her).

I highly recommend this episode. Maybe it's not so wierd after all that my eight year-old niece says this is her fav show. No. It's still wierd.

[Comments] (1) 7 days: I have 7 vacation days I must use or lose between now and 2010. I plan to take one tomorrow to Christmas shop, including our yearly sub-for-santa run.

Sub for Santa gets more depressing every year. More and more the items on the wishlist are listed as cash or gift cards. If I'm going to donate items for others, at least give me the pleasure of shopping for you! I promise to include a gift receipt so you can return it all and I can pretend that you kept it!

That's why this year I'm creating a gift basket full of baby stuff to go to a family with a newborn in our ward (of which there are plenty to choose from). Then I get to buy and decorate. Susie refuses to try this new experiment with me this year and insists on doing Sub-for-Santa. Well, she can get stuck buying gift cards then.

Christmas weekend: As previously mentioned, Susie & I spent Friday shopping for a one year-old boy through the Salvation Army Angel Tree. We were able to get everything on his list, except for shoes. We accomplished this by going over budget. Charitable budgets are mere estimates anyway, as it's way too easy to overspend. After seeing "The Blind Side," I felt it was the least I could do anyway. It was fun shopping for a one year-old because: a) he didn't want gift cards; and b) it was like shopping for Dalton. He's getting a coat, shirt and pants, pajamas, diapers and wipes, socks, a Winnie-the-Pooh doll that Maggie wanted, and a Winnie-the-Pooh book that Maggie and Dalton have and adore.

We also went way overboard on our neighbor basket. We went generic so it can be given to a boy or a girl, and went with a light green jungle theme, including jungle pajamas, a jungle board book, a jungle blanket, a toy giraffe that is unfortunately rather loud, and then soap, wipes, and diapers. We didn't actually put it in a basket, but put it in a storage container that is hopefully more useful.

Yesterday Maggie had breakfast with Santa, wherein she actually sat on his lap and told him she wants a yellow present with a horse in it. Santa also held Dalton and it was quite the photo op. I realized this year that Santa's helper is the neighbor at the bottom of our street.

After Santa we went to an elderly breakfast at my sister's ward. Susie, Jodi, Ember, and I played and sang Christmas songs to them. They ate lunch at 10 am, which I found odd, but it was perfect timing for us, as we ate lunch around 11:30 after we performed.

Then we visited Grandma & Grandpa and walked around IKEA to get some exercise. We didn't buy anything, except for hot dogs for dinner. But Maggie had a blast. She loves that store. Incidentally, they have lockers where you can put your coats while you exercise, i mean shop, which was really nice.

It must have been an exhausting weekend, as everyone is still asleep at 9 am. Normally Maggie is up before the sun.

So for anyone wanting to give charitably in lieu of presents, you can always send us cash and we can go shop for another angel! It's supposed to snow today. I can't believe 2010 is upon us.

[Comments] (3) no place like home: Lately Maggie has been saying "No go home" anytime we are out and about the town. She apparently finds home boring and would rather be in Nursery, shopping, at grandma's et al. Maybe we should get one of those bumper stickers that says "I'd rather be in ___" for her.

I delivered Christmas cookies to friends and neighbors all weekend. Yesterday, someone at church told me my cookies were deceiving. Now, my cookies have been called a lot of things, but deceiving? I think it was a compliment, but you never can tell, really. Deceiving? Did I purport they are non-fat or something? Deceiving. Apparently I am quite the cunning cook.

sleeping in: Normally I do not look forward to the late church schedule. However, having the last block, I've decided, does have some perks to it. For starters, we can have Sunday School in the chapel, relieving me of having to climb over people during the prayer because Dalton's diaper leaked. Secondly, Dalton tends to sleep in the afternoon and not in the morning, so hopefully he will sleep through it all. With Susie back in primary, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get to sit through a meeting peacefully ever again.

I'm grateful for the holidays and the time to spend with my family. Dalton has been a great conversationalist of late, often cooing and smiling at me in the evenings. And, as Maggie's Nursery teacher put it, she is a "tiny girl packed with lots of personality" and has also been fun to be with lately. She's been very endearing to me and we've been having fun. She loves our Chuck E Cheese outings, visits to see papa, going shopping at IKEA, watching new Disney shows in anticipation of our trip there in January, and turning on the Christmas lights. She's asking Santa for a yellow present with a horsie in it, and I can't help but think she will get just that.

For Christmas this year, I would just enjoy some peace of mind. So if anyone knows where to get some, I'm all ears.

there's no business like snowbusiness: Snowed all day. I was made aware of said snow ahead of time, and worked from home. It's been great to watch it fall all day, knowing I had absolutely nowhere else to be. I guess it's just like in the song.

The snow is expected through tomorrow night. I just love a good white Christmas!

the day after: Still reeling from the aftershock of a whole lot of Christmas. Some of the highlights:

Steve, my cousin Sharon's husband: "Baby boys are never cute. Only baby girls are cute. But your baby is cute."

Maggie, after Christmas carloing: "Let's sing Daddy home now" (a primary song, not a Christmas song).

I'm not sure how old a kid has to be before you can simply explain to them that life just isn't fair, but I take every opportunity I get to tell kids that. Life isn't fair. Never has been; never will be. So why pretend? Incidentally, as much fun as Christmas was, I've decided that it was way more fun buying gifts for strangers than for family, especially since I am under the impression that the strangers are in need, whereas family not so much.

Maggie was fun, though. She got a $8 end table from IKEA, a $10 stuffed horse that apparently is web-compatible, a $15 easel that has been a lot of fun, and junk from the dollar store that she seems to love most of all. Dalton got a stuffed elephant, also web-compatible, because these were buy one get one free. His life does not appear to have substantially changed. So the real question is this: how do I get her to always view Christmas as icing on the cake and not as a list of demands, regardless of her age?

I look forward to 2010, and hope that recent legislation concerning the medical field and the curbing of immoral business practices will make life overall better for all. But as I said before, life inherently just isn't fair.

[Comments] (2) one day at a time: Since Christmas, I've tried to have an activity each day to keep our family active and happy.

Saturday the 26th: Susie & I left the chillens with Grandma and went to the Harvest restaraunt at Thanksgiving Pointe. We eat way too much junk and I start a more intense exercise routine.

Monday the 28th: We went bowling with Tyler, Chad, Brook, Ember, and Logan. Maggie actually beat Ember and Tyler. We sat on the floor and rolled the ball down the alley, and finished with an 84, only one point behind Logan. We even managed a spare and a strike, which is not easy to do when you roll the ball so slowly.

Tuesday the 29th: We bought a new high-end blender to replace our cheap $30 wedding blender, which died Christmas Eve. We haven't used it yet, but it's pretty and has the angled blades that are supposed to be an improvement over the blenders of yesteryear. We also visited Grandma & Grandpa. I also finished reading some EB White stories. Stuart Little was horrid (you call that an ending?) but Charlotte's web was a fun read. I showed Maggie the movie after and she likes it, but has no clue what's going on. I however had to fight back tears. Lastly, I got up at 6 am to make the first temple session, which is what I normally do, to be home just as everyone is waking up. It was actually full! I did washings and annointings instead. Though I was bummed, it's nice to know it was full that early. Usually there are only about 10 of us there that early.

Wednesday the 30th: We originally planned to take Tyler and Ember to the aquarium, but the other members of our party flaked and it was snowing, so we drove the 1/2 mile to Boondocks instead. They were offering a buy $20 worth of tokens get $20 free, so we did that. It kept us entertained for two hours, with both Susie and Ember winning "Deal or No Deal" and Tyler also showing a strong finish on the game. Maggie had enough tokens for a bowling set, a yellow die as big as my fist, and a Tootsie Roll bank (all junk, but oh well). We also shoveled a lot today, and got frozen yogurt with the kids. Tyler will be up half the night, thanks to his grande cup filled with skittles, swedish fish, sour patch kids, brownie bites, and sprinkles. I always just get the blueberry with fruit mixed in, but also noticed the pistachio today, which turned out to be quite tasty. In other news, Maggie learns to say "Oh my gosh!" today.

Tomorrow, Thursday the 31st: we plan to see the Princess and the Frog and go to bed early. We wanted to go see this with Brook's family, but the theater by his house charges for kids of all ages and the theater by our house lets Maggie in for free as long as she sits on our lap. What's up with that?

We're spending more $$ than planned, but I figure it's still cheaper than last year's vacation to Primary Children's medical center. The food's better too.

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