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We are counting with Emily and Sarah says, "Lebben, Dell," ie, "Eleven, twelve." Marilyn witnessed this, I am not making it up!! 12/1

On the way to school to pick Emily up, Sarah calls out at the top of her lungs, "EMMY! ARE YOU!" (Where are you?) 12/2

I put Sarah into the seat of a shopping cart at the grocery store, and she said, "Emmy, next to me!" She was remembering the carts at Costco, which are big enough for the girls to sit side-by-side.

Sarah LOVES Naked Time. She has to be coaxed into her clothes most mornings. Eg, "Look, Sarah, this shirt has a DOGGY on it!" But then of course she doesn't want to get out of the doggy shirt at the end of the day, so I bribe her with Naked Time. She loves this and runs around upstairs patting her bare tummy and exclaiming, "Nakie! Nakie!"

Here it comes! Sarah says, "Me do it SELF."

Sarah says, "Play-Doh." 12/6

Sarah is saying a LOT. She says, "Book time!" and when we make mac and cheese, "Mix it up, me, too!"

Em and I start having Sarah play "Duck Duck Goose" with us. Sarah puts her hand on the first head she comes to and says, "Goose!" then stands there beaming at us until we say, "Run, Sarah, run!"

Christine agrees to host the Deppers, the Duffs, and the Casebolts (Betsy is a scrapbooking friend of Susan's and mine) at her downtown loft. It just happens to overlook the route of the Parade of Lights! This is a nighttime holiday parade that features floats and dancers and marching bands all lit up by strings of Christmas lights. We drove downtown early and watched from Christine's window all the people gathering on the sidewalks as it got darker outside. The girls loved it. Sarah exclaimed over every single thing that passed by! 12/7

Daddy and Sarah are rolling a ball back and forth. When Daddy takes a little too long, Sarah says, "Daddy! Ready! Go!" (She also urges Mommy to "Go, Mommy, go!" when we are stopped at a stop light in the car.) 12/9

We put the ornaments on the tree tonight and Sarah has a good time. She says, "Diss one, diss one!" and tries to get the hook over the branch all by herself. 12/9

Sarah can recognize and name Santa Claus, but she prefers to say, "Ah-Ween Dandee," as in, "Halloween Candy," as in, she still hasn't finished hers yet and demands some after dinner every night. She looks in her bag, pulls out a piece, and says, "Docklit! Docklit!" (Chocolate!) 12/9

Emily and Sarah helped me with sugar cookies this morning, and decorated them with all sorts of sprinkles and goodies. Sarah repeatedly thumped the bell-shaped cookie cutter into the rolled-out dough, saying, "Ding-dong, ding-dong!" Then she told me all about the "snaps" (buttons) she was putting on her snowman. She pushed so hard with the M & Ms that her cookies all had holes in the dough around the candy! She was very meticulous with the sprinkles, though, and picked up just a few between her fingers and rubbed them right on top of her dough. 12/13

The girls and I were asked to light the Advent candle at church this morning. Sarah insisted on helping me light the candles! She said, "Me, too! Dandle!" She stood up on a stool and put her hand around the long acolyte's lighter while I guided it to the top. 12/15

Sarah goes to the evening Christmas pageant with me and Emily and spends the hour in the playroom with Miss Monica. Afterwards, Sarah disappeared into the crowd around the cookie table. When I find her again, she is sitting in one of the armchairs with Cati, both of them pleased as punch and munching on their cookies! 12/15

This afternoon I had just a little more cookie decorating to get done before I picked Em up from school, and of course Sarah woke up and wanted to be doing something else. I kept her pacified for the few more minutes I needed by piping "Ss" on her hand with the frosting--seemed to work! 12/16

Sarah is moving forward linguistically by leaps and bounds. Today she told me, "My muffin all gone!" 12/18

We leave for Arkansas! Sarah is a trooper in the car. She likes to look at books and play with the MagnaDoodle, and really enjoys Daddy's special treat, a portable DVD player. 12/19

We drive the last bit to Grandma and Grandpa's house in the dark after dinner and pass the time looking at the Christmas lights on the houses. Every time Emily says, "Look out my side!" Sarah says, "My dide! My dindow too!" even when we are only passing trees! 12/20

Sarah begins calling herself "Darah" rather than "Rah-rah." (But Grandpa is still "Grammy!")

Sarah loves being at Grandma and Grandpa's house. She promptly starts calling the den where Em's bed is, "Emmy's room," and Grandpa's office with her crib smack in the middle of the floor, "Sarah's room." She really likes the old cradle in the entryway with Aunt Amy and Mommy's old dolls in it. She found the butter churn and would sit on the dining room floor and turn and turn and turn the handle. "Round and round!" She helps Grandma with cookies, too, and impresses Grandma with how careful she is with the sprinkles! 12/20-27

We all dress up for Christmas Eve services at Grandma and Grandpa's church. We sit in the front so we can see Grandpa sing in the choir! When we say hello to people after church they all say how good Emily and Sarah were during the service (which means they only wiggled a normal amount instead of a lot)! When Sarah tries on her new Christmas Eve nightie from Grandma, she promptly starts turning around and around in circles to make the skirt swing out. 12/24

Sarah has a wonderful Christmas Day! She pushes the presents around on the carpet, saying, "Open it! Open it!" Grandma and Grandpa say she is just like I was as a little kid, since she's not so interested in opening new presents--she just wants to play with the things she already has! 12/25

We have a little adventure on the way home from Arkansas when the van stops running! Fortunately, we run out of steam right in front of a Conoco and Dairy Queen, and just happen to have a van full of Christmas toys, so we have a fairly painless wait for our tow to Wichita. We find a Holiday Inn (restaurant and swimming pool!) 200 yards from our mechanic, but arrive too late on Friday drop off the van. We settle in to wait for Monday morning, but fortunately the girls find the whole hotel experience novel enough that the time passed pretty well. On Sunday, Emily and Sarah and I took the hotel shuttle to the Wichita Exploration Place, their children's museum, and spend 5 hours looking at all the cool stuff. Monday we find out the van will definitely need at least a day of repairs, if not more, and we decide to rent a car so the girls and I can drive home right away. We want to avoid New Year's traffic as much as we can, but we also want to make sure that we are home in time to play with Gracie Droppelman, who is visiting from her new home in North Carolina. The girls and I spend Monday night in Goodland, KS, and arrive at our house around lunchtime on New Year's Eve. The Duffs came over to help with the logisitics of returning the rental car, and while I am gone with Tim Susan fields two calls from Georgia asking if they can come over yet! About fifteen minutes after I am done with the car, Georgia and Grace walk over and the girls have a wonderful time playing together again. They wind up with three different playdates before Grace goes home again! Meanwhile, Bill has reported that the van did get fixed by the end of the day on the 31st, but decides to wait and leave early New Year's Day. He arrives midafternoon and we celebrate by opening the rest of our Christmas presents! Happy New Year! 12/27-1/1


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