On Christmas Eve, we came home from Mike’s sister’s house with a very play-doh-happy child. On top of that, my cousin Leah and her fiancé Ted were staying at our house, so I feared Annie would never be able to fall asleep. Luckily Leah and Ted were very helpful and made getting ready for Santa into a game. First Annie carefully picked out three cookies for Santa, then she dictated a note to him:

cookies for Santa

Once Annie was finally sleeping, the four of us got to work wrapping and stacking presents.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas morning, after everyone came over, Mike and I went into Annie’s room to wake her up. Santa came!

taking it all in

After we all opened stockings, it was time for presents. We had Annie go first.

yay presents!

Just like on Christmas Eve, she shrieked with glee over every single gift. It was so great. She hugged every present and said “thank you” to everyone. I was so happy and proud.


I love these!

It's Flynn Rider!

After she opened her presents from Santa and Gramma and Bampa and her aunts and uncles, it was time for her present from Mama and Daddy:

daddy brings in the big girl bike

Her reaction was, of course, awesome:

spotted her big girl bike!

running toward her big girl bike
She’s yelling, “Big girl bike! Big girl bike!”

After all the presents were opened, it was time for breakfast and extreme toy play time. I took a very necessary nap on the couch…and then another nap later at my parents’ house. The extended running around in the days leading up to Christmas caught up with me and I was completely beat for about three days. Dr. Risky was not pleased, but the extra rest and fluids that I needed after Christmas were completely worth the happiness my little girl had on Christmas day.

Next year we’ll hopefully have another little kiddo opening presents (or, more likely, Annie will be opening presents for that kid), so this was her last Christmas as the baby. I think it was a memorable one for her. This was our fourth Christmas without Maddie, and the first Christmas without Jackie singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” into my phone. I missed them both so fiercely. So I ran myself a bit ragged to avoid thinking about who my heart was aching for, and I bought Maddie some presents that I gave to Annie and Toys For Tots, and I overloaded Annie with a million hugs and kisses and I love yous.

The best present I got was a million hugs and kisses and I loves yous back from Annie.