Amanda told me a week or more ago that she wanted to decorate the house for Christmas the Sunday after we got back from Thanksgiving, and I thought it was a nice idea.  Milly, after all, is older and more aware now.

We did all that after we got home from church and Atlanta Bread/Barnes & Noble.  The Warkentien clan, sans Nick, who was working, joined us today for that.  I saw Amy talking to Nick after the 8:30 service and she said they came because both kids were up (they usually go to an evening service) so I asked if she wanted to bring Eli and Ada and join me, Amanda and Milly for our Sunday morning routine.  Milly and Eli held hands all the way from Atlanta Bread to Barnes & Noble and played with the trains nicely.  Amanda went to Ulta to get some hair stuff and asked Amy if she wanted to join her, so I watched the kids all by myself for a bit.  It wasn’t hard; Ada slept in her stroller the whole time and Milly and Eli were occupied.

When we got home we put Milly down then started on the Christmas stuff.  I put the tree together (yes, we bought a fake one a few years ago) while Amanda put up little houses and other decorations.  Note to myself, which I’m sure I’ll forget by next year and every year after: Don’t start the branches at the very bottom; you skip one to give room for presents at the bottom, and that’s why some of the branches appear to be missing.

After I got the tree together Amanda and I worked on the lights outside.  We did it a little different and that required a few more strands of lights, so Amanda went to Target to get some.  We tested them all, but when we had them all set up there was a section on two separate strands that did not work.  Amanda and I spent a while with me putting in replacement bulbs in the sections that were out while she plugged and unplugged the lights to check them.  We eventually were able to get them all working, but it really wore on my shoulders, having to reach up from a stepladder and replace so many bulbs one after another.  Still, it was better than taking them down and going back to the store.

We got Milly up after the Christmas tree and inside decorations were up, but while we were still working with the outside lights.  We turned off all the interior lights but the Christmas ones before she came down and she kept talking about how pretty and neat it all was.  (She just started saying neat a lot.)  Charles and Deanna across the street have their lights up, as do a few other people in the neighborhood, so Milly got a kick out of seeing all the lights.  Milly came outside while we were trying to fix the lights and she told while I was up on the ladder to be careful and that she’d catch me.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing.  Amanda and I both had tired feet and I tried to doze a little on the couch.  I was up late last night because we had discussed just getting up when we get up and going to church then, but Amanda woke up earlier than expected so I just rolled with it.  Anyway, I was tired and tried to nap a little in the late evening, but Milly was wound up and it was hard to catch any consistent shuteye.

Amanda and I watched Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead after Milly went to sleep.  Walking Dead was the mid-season finale and there won’t be any new episodes on until February.  It was a pretty tense episode and had an ending that I felt I should have seen coming, but I did not.  The shootout, I did see that coming, and I saw Shane spearheading it, but the very end of that I did not.  Definitely not a feel-good episode.

Oh, while Amanda and I were taking Milly to Grow Zone, I talked briefly, as I always do, with Larry.  (I actually asked Milly who he was and she knew without any prodding, and gave him his weekly fist bump and “”Go Duke!”)  Larry said something about Carolina losing to UNLV.  I knew they were playing last night, but I didn’t even bother to check the score.  They lost 90-80, so it’s been fun reading message boards tonight.  You’ve got to understand that this is a very hyped Carolina team and people were talking (foolishly) about them going undefeated.  That reminds me, I wanted to check out the last few minutes of it on ESPN3, so I think I’ll do that now.

Zach Dotsey