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another Christmas in the trenches: The Christmas Eve party had all the great food this year with half of the sing-along time, given that it was Saturday night and church comes early. We got home and put kids to bed around 8:30 and played Santa and watched a show and went to bed at 10:30. I set an alarm for 7:30 this morning and boy did we need it. We were all sleepyheads.

I should mention that during this trip I introduced Leonard to Rankin Bass "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" due to a retired Macy's Santa turned comedian's suggestion, and also to "A Christmas Story" and "A Muppet Christmas Carol." The latter two are my favorite Christmas shows and Leonard seemed to enjoy them. He and Susie have been discussing if their childhood was lacking not growing up with these shows. Perhaps.

Back to Christmas. Santa was kind enough to leave a coloring book, some treats, and a new tie out for us on the kitchen table while we hurried to get to church by 9 am for the festivities. It was a packed house which I think surprised most people. But if you don't go to church on Christmas, what's the point really? So we went. Maggie sang with the Primary which really upset Dalton. He just sat there on my lap whining like a puppy dog left out in the cold. I guess he later decided he'd had enough with being left out because, before Susie or I could do anything, he marched right up on the stage and stood there while a teenage girl sang "O Holy Night." I didn't know what to do. He doesn't do stuff like this; he's not one of those kids.

I decided going up to get him would just disrupt the musical number so I let Dalton be. I decided if he started jumping off chairs I would go get him. Halfway through the song he decided he was done singing and he came down on his own and went to the wrong pew after pew until he found us. At first I thought he went to the wrong pew on purpose to play with the Bartons.

We already know Dalton hates being left out of pre-school and I guess this was his defiant move.

I told Maggie she would get an extra present from Santa if she would wear the blue Chinese dress we bought her in Hong Kong and she finally agreed to wear the dress I love but she hates. The people in front as well as behind our pew complimented her as did Jodi at the family party. She looks so beautiful in it but that girl also has her own defiance.

Back at home we changed clothes and went to see what Santa brought us. Dalton got some cars and a racetrack for them and Maggie got dinosaurs and a dinosaur play mat for them to live on, complete with a volcano and waterfall for the pleiosaurs. They both got a DVD and some candy and socks in their stockings as well as a soccer ball for Maggie.

We let the kids play for an hour then moved upstairs to open the gifts under the tree, though truth be told I think the kids were content to play with their Santa gifts all day long. The tree brought a football and basketball for Dalton and a stuffed Stegosaurus for Maggie. The kids also got a really awesome log cabin lego set that we spent hours putting together.

We hit Grandma and Grandpa's for dinner and more presents. We played a White Elephant gift and, Maggie, unhappy with hers declared '"I got a rock" which of course set the cute-o-meter off the charts and had us all ROFL at her proper reference to the Charlie Brown Halloween episode.

Christmas is now over, and it was the best ever. I'm excited to have some new toys in the house and to settle down and enjoy a hopefully lazy rest of the year.


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