When Amanda brought Milly downstairs this morning, the Christmas tree lights weren’t on.  Milly signed and said “more,” so Amanda plugged in the lights, eliciting a “Yay!” from Milly.  After that, she played with a couple of toys that she got last Christmas, a ball that has lights and sings and rolls itself and, mostly, one of those poles that you stack rings on, though hers has a button that makes it light up and play music.  Milly probably spent half an hour playing with that thing and dancing around.  She’s recently added more moves to her repertoire, including a stomping/marching thing and turning around in circles.  It was very cute and very entertaining.

We eventually all got dressed and headed out the door for some breakfast at Chick-fil-A before heading over to the Millards’ house for Kevin’s surprise birthday celebration.  Lauren originally planned for it to be at the Wrightsville Beach Park featuring a game of kick ball, but it had been raining since early this morning so it was moved to their house.

We got to see a lot of people there, which was great.  The upstairs, which is where Kevin and Lauren’s office was before they got an out-of-home office, became Baby Central, since almost everyone there had a kid aged two years or younger.  Milly was acting all shy and wouldn’t let me put her down for a while, but going up there and playing with toys helped her a lot.  Maggie Millard was especially sweet with Milly, putting stickers on her and sharing crayons.  Dakota Boneske gave Milly an open-mouth kiss on the lips and smiled about it afterwards when we were about to leave.  I’ll have to keep an eye on that guy!  We also got to meet his little sister, Indy, for the first time today.  She and her momma seemed pretty exhausted.

A lot of people said something about how well Milly is able to speak.  We knew she was pretty good, but I suppose seeing her every day and not being around a lot of other kids her age didn’t give us a very clear picture of her ability to speak.

I think we left Kevin and Lauren’s around 12:30.  At that point, Milly had eaten late and had not yet napped, so she was getting a little tired.  Amanda dropped me and Milly off at the house then went out to do some shopping.  Milly started off in a good mood, so I let her stay up and played with her until she started showing that she was tired again.  After I changed her diaper I snuggled up with her on the floor for a few minutes before putting her in the crib.  She was being very sweet, even if she was calling me “Sah” again.

After Amanda got home, I went out to get some gifts for her.  I hope she likes the things that I get.  I think I went out on a limb with the style of one thing, but I think it’ll go with some other things she’s got.  The other thing I got I checked for at a few places.  I only found it one place, but they didn’t have the style I wanted to get for her and wouldn’t be getting any more in before Christmas.  I guess if she doesn’t like the presents she can exchange them.

When I got home we watched Carolina play Texas in Greensboro.  Texas got up to a ten point lead in the first half then let Carolina take the lead before the end of the half.  Carolina lead by up to seven points in the second half, though it mostly stayed at three to five.  Thankfully, Texas was able to pull out the win in a close one.  Milly was saying “Go Duke!”  Now, obviously Duke wasn’t playing and she doesn’t recognize Duke on TV yet, but she has learned to associate watching basketball with “Go Duke!” which I think is really cool.

Towards the end of the game, Milly and I played some Ready, Set, Go.  I thought it was more important than gluing myself to the end of a game I three-quarters cared about.  Milly enjoyed it, and she let me watch the last minute of the game anyway because by that point she wanted to play with the buckle on her booster seat, a new favorite thing.  I don’t like that she likes it so much because she can’t quite get the parts lined up on her own and she can’t unbuckle it on her own (which I am glad of), and she get frustrated with the whole thing.

After the game we watched Wall-E, which was on ABC Family.  Milly spent a good bit of the movie sitting in my lap and leaning back on my chest.  It was very sweet.  She was even saying “Wall-E” and “Eve.”

We gave Milly a bath and put her to bed, though she started crying pretty loudly a few minutes later.  Since she doesn’t usually cry that early, Amanda went to check on her and I came up a minute later.  I decided I’d lie on the floor with our daughter again to help calm her down.  After Amanda left the room, Milly got up.  I started to tell her it wasn’t time to play, but she ended up getting a(nother) blanket and coming right back over to me.  I spent a few minutes there with my hand on her chest, feeling her little heartbeat as she breathed.  I put her back in bed with no fuss.

We had ordered a pizza from Papa John’s for dinner tonight at about 6:45 and were told it would be here in 35-45 minutes.  Amanda called at 8:15 to see what the deal was.  Apparently it had been marked for pick-up.  They got it out to us pretty quickly and didn’t charge for it.  We ate some of that, watched a Supernatural and a Big Bang then Amanda went to bed.

We had ordered a couple Veggie Tales DVDs for Milly and they got here today.  Actually, I think they got here before today because I saw the mailman stuffing mail in our mailbox today, and we hadn’t checked the mail in a few days.  At any rate, I’m working on converting them to go on Amanda’s iPod so we can entertain Milly on trips with the videos.

My cousin Roger Dotsey got married today to Sarah Durall in Owensboro, Kentucky.  My parents and grandma were there, along with a lot of other family.  I wish we could have swung it, but not only would it have been difficult this time of year, but we couldn’t have really afforded it.  Either way, I’m really happy for the two of them.  We got to meet Sarah when we went to Kentucky this summer and she seemed like a really great girl.  Roger’s a pretty good guy himself, so she didn’t do too bad for herself either.  I hope they had a great day with wonderful memories and a happy future ahead.

Zach Dotsey