It took me a while to get around to it, but I did get a little work done today.  I was able to work on one of the two items I wanted to make progress on, so that’s not too bad.

But you don’t care about what I did at work today, do you?  You want to hear about Milly’s first Christmas Eve.

Amanda went out and bought a few stocking stuffers, did some laundry and packed for our visits.  I gave Milly a bath in the baby tub inside the tub and she seemed to really enjoy it.  When I first put her in she was kicking her leg around a bit like she was enjoying watching the splashes.  There’s a plastic monkey on a cord attached to the baby tub that she always sucks on.  I call it her sea monkey, and she had fun with that, too.  She was almost laughing some.  She’s much easier to bathe now that she can sit up straight and stand up with support.  I can also pour water right down her head and over her face without it making her fuss.  That’s something that will help her, growing up at the beach and all.

We packed up the car with presents and such, basically everything we’d need for the weekend sans dogs, and headed on to the 3:00 service at Port City Community Church.  I invited my brother, Adam, to go along, but he was going to be at a showing of Avatar during that time.

The church service was nice.  It was packed, of course.  They didn’t have any of the children’s services today so there were a lot of kids in the main auditorium.  It was the first time Milly had been to grown up church since she’s been old enough to go to Grow Zone.  When she was smaller she would sleep through the loud music then fuss during the message.  Now she paid close attention to the music, I think because she liked all the lights and the big video screens, and the napped during the talking.  It wasn’t really a sermon, more like a remembrance of the meaning of Christmas and an explanation of how Communion fit into it.  All in all it was a very nice service.  All three services tonight were broadcast live on the internet too.  I think they’ve done that with a few services up to now, but tonight was the first one where they really got the word out I think.

I got to talking with an older woman who was sitting next to us before the service.  She took an interest in Milly and was holding her when the music started.  She seemed to really enjoy holding Milly, and Milly seemed to really enjoy playing with her gold watch, so I let her stay there until we all stood up.  Her oldest son is in Iraq, so I told her I’d pray for him tonight.

After church we picked the dogs up then headed to Beulaville to Amanda’s grandparents house.  I sat in the back with Milly on the way there so she could eat and when I saw a sign for Chinquapin I got in Milly’s face and said it and she laughed.  I kept doing it until she stopped laughing as hard, which took longer than I would have expected.  I like saying “Chinquapin.”  I say it as I imagine the locals would: Cheenka-pee-in.  Whatever- Milly likes the way I say it.

The Frazelles were already there and the Mercers arrived a little while after we got there.  Milly was, as usual, the star of the show.  Everybody got their time in playing with her before we put her down for a nap and ate a breakfast dinner.

She’s really working on getting up on her hands and knees, by the way.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she is crawling, at least a little, by the time we get back to Wilmington.

Milly got to open her very first Christmas present ever.  It was her first wrapped present, for that matter.  It was from the Frazelles and it was a copy of Where the Wild Things Are.  She got clothes from her great-grandparents.  Everyone else opened their presents after her.  I got a couple long sleeved graphic tees from Express (can’t go wrong with that for me) from the Frazelles and a button up shirt and jeans from Peggy and Earl.

Amanda and I realized that it was past 8:30 and therefore well past Milly’s bedtime so we took off.  We thought, as late as it was and as prone as she (like most babies) is to falling asleep in the car, that she would nod off, but she spent most of  the trip to Amanda’s parents’ house talking and making noises.  Once we got to the house and set up the pack & play Karen bought she went down pretty quick.

The pack & play, I might add, isn’t just for Milly.  It’s an investment in the future as we figure on having at least one more kid and one day Michael will probably have a few of his own.  Even though those things fold up pretty well, they do take up a good bit of space when traveling, so the fact that my mother-in-law bought one to keep at their house is much appreciated.

After everything settled down Phil went to bed and the rest of us, Amanda, Karen, Michael and I, played Wits & Wages, which Amanda picked up today while she was out as a present to both of us.  I continued my winning streak that started at Ben and Jessica Lambeth’s when they introduced the game to us for two games, but then Karen won one and Amanda won the two after that.  Undefeated no longer.  Oh well.

It’s now about time for Santa to be here, I suppose.  I’m looking forward to Milly playing with wrapping paper and trying to eat ribbon tomorrow.

Zach Dotsey