If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.

Last Saturday night the doorbell rang, and I harrumphed my way upstairs to answer it. Probably the UPS guy just doing his job and trying to wake up Natalie from her precious naptime.

Harrumph grumpy grump grump.

The outside light was off, so I opened the door and squinted into the darkness. Two people on my front step in Santa hats. Carolers? Neighborhood kids soliciting last-minute donations to their school fundraisers? Seasonally-appropriate home invaders?

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and… and Eddie with a man in his pajamas with a dog chain tied to his wrists and ankles. What the…?

Just kidding. It was these two crazy kids.

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My sister and her boyfriend, who drove non-stop from Montana to surprise all of us for Christmas. My grandmother and my aunt were the only ones who knew, and they breathed nary a word to ruin the surprise.

Leslie was sure she had blown it by letting slip a few things that would definitely have given it away, had we been paying attention. Thankfully none of us really listens when we talk to each other on the phone, so that wasn’t a concern at all.

Their roadtrip was comedy gold and involved hitting a deer, denting the rim of one of the car wheels by kathumping over a pothole, and then having the AAA guys punch a hole through their front bumper by accidentally backing a trailer hitch into it. But they soldiered on and arrived on my front door some 30-odd hours later in a rental car, since after the bumper incident they really had to just put their car out of its misery.

2013-12-25 19.53.08Natalie was completely unsympathetic to the trials and tribulations her aunt went through to get here, but she was pretty impressed by this sweet Christmas dress.

It was an amazing surprise and the best present Leslie could have given us, but she also arrived bearing gifts, so naturally I love her a little bit more because of it.

I know Natalie won’t remember it, but it warms my cold little heart that she was able to spend time with her aunt for her first Christmas. They’re both pretty cute, yes?

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