Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Well, it was a success. Christmas was as lovely (and exhausting) as I imagined it would be. I walked into Annabelle's room to retrieve her Christmas morning (she's still in that blessed crib), and told her that Santa had come. She peered into the hallway and asked, "Is he still here?" I told her he wasn't, that he came while we slept. She then asked, a little concerned, "But did he leave me presents by the door?"
Lucky for her, the presents were nicely laid out on the couch. This is the first year she's really understood what's going on, and it was really so much fun. We bought her a kid's digital camera, and she loved it as expected ("Look! A cram-rah like yours and Daddy's!"), but it only held her interest until she noticed the kid scissors that had slipped unnoticed out of her stocking. She then spent the rest of the day cutting.
No really. We were up at Grandma and Grandpa Cheney's house, and while the other kids opened presents, she cut paper.
For her part, Lou did an awesome job chewing paper.
 And looking really cute. And bald.
One of my favorite gifts we (Annabelle) received (so far, we still have a St. George Christmas coming... :) ) came from her Grandma and Grandpa Cheney. At the beginning of December, Jess and I attended the opening night of The Festival of Trees. Among the trees and wreaths that are up for auction, there are also several centerpieces, which can consist of anything from a nativity set to a painting to random Christmas crafts (all donations). As we perused the centerpieces this year, both of us were stopped in our tracks when we came to this painting:
Because there was our Belle. Her hair is a little too dark, but her face reminded us so much of our little curly-haired beauty. Of course, the painting's starting bid exceeded anything we could afford, but we bookmarked it in our minds and thought perhaps we'd purchase a smaller print for Christmas. A few days later, my father-in-law asked if he could buy it for us for Annabelle's Christmas present. We heartily said yes, both because she has enough toys to last her a few lifetimes and because this is the kind of gift that really means something.

I realize that Annabelle doesn't really understand the beauty of this painting right now, but it's something we - and hopefully she - will treasure forever. Because this is what it is all about. That little baby Jesus whose birth we celebrate this time of year grew up to be our Savior. And He loves each of us just like He loves this sweet little girl in the painting. And when we mess up, when we drop our pitcher and it spills, he picks up the pieces and wipes our tears. And I'm so grateful for that knowledge and this visible reminder.
Having babies around during Christmas makes it so real and tangible and meaningful.  I already miss the magic and find myself wishing it were Christmas again with just about as much fervor as my six-year-old self. Merry and magic indeed.

Cue the excessive photo sharing. :)

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