Merry Christmas, everyone! We had a fantastic one. Our first in Madison, and Juniper’s first as a child fully aware of her surroundings.

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We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, baking and decorating Christmas cookies, eating a feast of home-made gnocchi (and lamb ragu for the carnivores), and watching A Christmas Story. We ended the night with all of us snuggled up in Junip’s bed, my dad reading The Night Before Christmas like he did for Molly and I when we were girls. It was really special.

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Christmas morning my parents arrived nice and early, before Junip woke up, so we could all see her reaction when she came downstairs. Sleepy, confused, and shy, it turned out, but quickly building into total joy. Santa brought her a bounce house! She didn’t really understand what it was until later, when we inflated it, but she just had so much fun opening presents, or delivering them. It didn’t seem to matter to her who they were for, she just loved the whole process.

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Quinn is really enjoying her new bandanna bibs.

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The boxes were, of course, also a big hit.

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When Drew was cooking brunch, Juniper busted out her new tool set and ‘fixed’ the play dough, sweetly and independently playing, and I heard her murmur, “Thank you, Santa.” (Insert heart melting.) Ten minutes later she came into the kitchen and told me it was time for her to nap (a full hour early). Since we hadn’t really eaten anything all day, I tried to convince her to stay awake for brunch, and found myself actually arguing with a two year old, let’s not go to sleep quite yet. Crazy, huh? I eventually convinced her to eat a pancake, and then she crashed, a nice two hour nap.

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And then, bounce time! This thing barely fits in the play room. It won’t be a permanent installation, but it sure is awesome. Thank you, Farm & Fleet.

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Tonight we had a second celebration with my parents, sister, and aunt (but I forgot the camera) and tomorrow we will drive down to Arlington Heights for a few days visiting with all the sibs and cousins. I’m really looking forward to it.

I hope you all had the merriest, too!