For Maddie’s birthday, we spent part of the day in our old neighborhood. It’s the place that holds some of our fondest memories of both girls. We had lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, where Maddie and Annie both regularly used to charm waiters. Annie made a quesadilla-guacamole-plain tortilla concoction that Maddie definitely would have approved of.

quesadilla guacamole tortilla

After that, it was off to the park where Maddie used to watch the ducks. The last time we’d tried to take Annie there, it was closed for repairs. This time it was open, and full of wildlife.

looking at the ducks and turtles

Annie climbed up on the bench and called to the ducks, and I remembered when her sister had done the same thing three and a half years earlier.



One of my biggest regrets was not taking a picture with Maddie that day, so I made sure we took pictures with Annie.

Annie & Daddy

Annie & Mommy

Eventually we said goodbye to the ducks and headed to the playground, where Annie had a blast.

crossing the bridge

swinging with daddy


After we were played-out, we went by our favorite cream puff shop and bought a dozen to share with my parents, aunt, and cousin.

cream puffs

Later in the evening, after my family had left, Annie asked if we were going to sing to Maddie. I put a candle on a cream puff and Annie led us in Happy Birthday.

cream puffs

She happily blew out the candle, then chowed down on the cream puff.

cream puffs

cream puffs

cream puffs

Before bed, we told stories about Maddie, and Annie told us how excited she was to be a big sister like Maddie. After I tucked Annie into her bed, she said, “Mama, tonight I’m going to dream about Maddie.”

In the morning, she told me she had.