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Happenings: Continuing this week, with John in California and us trying to keep busy: Thursday, my aunt Sharon and cousins Jill and Camilla came over. We had a yummy lunch and a fun time talking. Dalton attached himself to Sharon. She makes a very good great-auntie.

Today, we bought a new toilet, and an overpriced toy as a birthday gift (the toilet was not a birthday gift). I wish I'd been able to plan ahead and buy something online; not only was everything overpriced at Toys R Us, the selection wasn't very good.

Dalton first learned the word Christmas as part of the phrase "Christmas tree." He still hasn't separated the two. I took the kids to see Santa earlier this week (there's no line in November). Dalton enjoyed it. He sat on Santa's lap and agreed with everything the man said (smart kid). Maggie hid behind my back. The mall also has a dino-themed play place, so that was fun.

Last night, I took the kids to get their free meals at Del Taco (and some energy out on the play place). Dalton was too small for the play place, so Maggie had to haul him up every single step. Double wearing-out bonus!

John is finally coming home tomorrow. Yay! Maggie is going to a birthday party, and we have our ward party in the evening. I already made Thai Pasta Salad to take.

[Comments] (4) Three's a Crowd: I'm pregnant, if you didn't know.

Mmmm, chocolate pudding.
One bite for me, one bite for baby.
One bite for me, one bite for baby.
"Mommy! Can I share some?"
One bite for Maggie, one bite for me, one bite for baby.
One bite for Maggie, one bite for Dalton, one bite for...
That didn't last long.

[Comments] (1) Behind Christmas Joy:

John: Why are they singing, Maggie?
Maggie: Because there's no food and no presents and no decorations. And no table. And no Christmas tree. And no candy canes. And no bells.
John: And they're still happy?
Maggie: Yeah.
John: Why?
Maggie: Because... Mr. Grinch is coming back.

It's Not Paella!:
John: Here's a hint: if I call it "paella," that means I don't like it.
Susie: You call everything with rice "paella."

[Comments] (3) The Order of Things:
M: After Christmas comes Easter Beagle.

And, the kids were running around in circles chanting, "deep fat fry! deep fat fry!" after watching Garfield Thanksgiving. I love it!

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Maggie uses the words "ask" and "tell" incorrectly. Except, today she actually {accidentally} said something nice! "I will ask Kyli to give it back." I'm sure she really meant "tell." Sometimes she demands that I ask her something... and gets upset when I do.

I just finished making Santa videos for both of the kids. They are going to love it! Maggie is at such a magical age for Christmas. We did an elf hunt at Gardner Village earlier this week. One of the elves had binoculars, so I explained he was checking to see if the kids were being good girls and boys. I once mentioned an elf might be watching to see if she ate her dinner and not only have I had no problems since, she always begs to look out the window and see if we can find him! He's on the rooftops! He's making footprints in the yard! He's on his way to Colette's house!

Our kids really don't need any toys, but of course we bought more than we intended. They are going to love it on Christmas morning, though! Besides, I think that last Lego set was really more for John and I...

Leonard is coming in on Tuesday night. So glad I get to have my brother with us for Christmas! Besides, I told him, Christmas is more fun with kids around. Especially when his favorite niece loves dinosaurs and Legos just like him.

Dalton & Rudolph: Dalton loves to read along with stories and sing along to songs. Unfortunately, he usually doesn't know all (or any) of the words. So he just shouts out the last word, when you give a pause. This makes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the perfect song for him to sing along to!

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer "Reindeer!"
Had a very shiny nose "nose!"
And if you ever saw it "saw it!"
You would even say it glows "glows!"

Cuteness ad infinitum. Maybe I'll catch a video.

Thing I Never Thought I'd Google:

Are armadillos good climbers?
Do whales have belly buttons?
construction worker socks

Only one of those was asked by Maggie.

[Comments] (2) Santa for Mom: When I was 14 or 15, I woke up early on Christmas morning and realized we hadn't bought anything for my mom's stocking! Even though she was married at the time, it was clear that us kids were responsible to be Santa, at least for the stocking. I bravely woke up Leonard - 16 or 17 then - and we agreed to drive to 7-11. At 6:00 on Christmas morning, we drove 10 minutes into "town" to buy Coke, Hershey bars and who knows what else to fill mom's stocking. Not every teenage boy would do that. Even though everything was obviously purchased at a convenience store, I wonder if she had any idea we had gone that morning to do it.

The year I was 17, we drove to Texas for my cousin's wedding and spent Christmas there. We filled mom's stocking with items (including collectible patches) sneakily purchased from convenience stores all along Route 66.

Who's that baby?: Looking at pictures.

Me: Hey, who's that?
Dalton: Um. Baby... Baby... Jesus!
Me: Baby Jesus? That's you! And that was three days ago.

25 Christmas Highlights:

1. Spoiling the kids
2. Christmas sugar cookies
3. Telling Maggie that elves were watching her
4. Dinosaur museums
5. John not working
6. Leonard's visit
7. Harry Potter party with cousins
8. Dalton's amazement at the never-ending presents
9. Dinner and Christmas movies with Jodi and Franco
10. New phone
11. New camera
12. New Legos
13. Carcassonne and other games
14. Sledding at the cabin, bundled up warm in borrowed and hand-me-down snow clothes with my awesome family (+ doggies)
15. "Can we drive around our neighborhood?" every night
16. Delicious food at Aunt Birgitta's annual Christmas Eve party
17. Leonard cooking. And doing the dishes. When did he become so tidy?
18. Maggie yelling "I got a rock!" when unhappy with a Hannah Montana binder during the White Elephant game
19. Maggie singing with the Primary during Church. Actually opening her mouth and singing
20. Dalton running up to the stand to have his turn
21. The kids loving their Uncle Leonard
22. New socks
23. Potato casserole
24. Reading A Christmas Carol
25. Teaching the kids about "baby Jesus"

Riddle Her Silly: Rachel sent Dalton a book called The Dog Detectives: Lost in London for Christmas. The dogs have to find the 6 black ravens, and there are some riddles to solve along the way. I read the book to Maggie just now.

Susie: "I wear bark, grow leaves, and shade parks." What grows leaves?
Maggie: Water!
Susie: Um... yes...

Potty! Potty!: I was fully intending not to even think about potty-training Dalton until he turns three. Why frustrate myself by starting too early, right?

A few weeks ago, he saw me cleaning the toilets for the first time (we had a maid in India, remember?) He was very intrigued and shortly after started asking to sit on the potty a few times. Kyli is using our potty seat right now, so I had to hold him there until he got tired of it, which took a surprisingly long time. Today while I was changing a wet diaper, he hopped up and ran to the bathroom and wanted to be put on. And what do you know, he actually peed.

Dalton is about a month shy of the age when I trained Maggie. I don't know if I want to do this yet, though!

Maggie at the Park: Maggie always says the most hilarious things when making new friends at the park. Today I got out my phone and took notes.

My middle name are Margaret Susan.
My last name are Sissy.
My grandpa can't walk. (I think the boy she was talking to was there with his grandpa.)
Charlie Brown died. It was a baby in my mommy's tummy and it died. It's ok, we're going to get a new one named Charlie Brown. (To this, the boy questioned giving the baby the same name.)
My friend Grandma June died. She was 99! (Maggie talks about Grandma June dying a lot.)
When asked how old Dalton was: He's 2. He had a birthday in India and he turned 2.

Also, a cat wandered over to the playground and Maggie said that his name was "Thuck." Maggie is not allowed to name any future pets we may get.

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