Every year on their birthdays I write my children a letter. This is Huck’s fifth birthday letter.Huck Birthday collage WM


Dearest Huckleberry,

You are five. FIVE! I know  I sound like a broken record (and you won’t know what that means) but how did this happen? Where did the time go?  Five years ago today we brought you home from the hospital, so tiny and pink. You were one of those adorable “old man babies” and we were all smitten with you, no one more than Max.

Five years have passed and while you no longer look pink, tiny, or like an old man we remain smitten with our sweet Baboo. You are the spirit and the fire of our family. You bring the party wherever you go and you are all in for whatever is happening. This is usually a great thing, but sometimes not. You are what they describe as a “spirited” child, which means you have a very strong personality and a lot of joy, ideas, commitment and excitement. These are all amazing and excellent qualities that I cherish in you, even if it does make parenting a challenge sometimes. I read once that spirited children make for successful adults if we can just resist parenting the spirit out of them, and as your mother that is my goal. It’s hard to keep you safe and teach you how to negotiate the world when you are flying among the clouds and will not listen.

Listening is your least favorite thing in the world.

You said to me the other day “I get in trouble a lot” and that may seem true, we haven’t found your currency yet, so now we are trying something new. It broke my heart when you said that. The difference between you, Max (and so far Piper) is that when we tell them no, and why…they stop. You look at us with the cutest most sneaky little smile and keep on going. You test. And that’s okay. I want you to know that while you may GET into trouble a great deal right now, you are NOT a trouble to us. You are a joy. For no one brings pure love and joy to our family like you do.

You still love to hug and cuddle. You still say “mine” instead of  “my”. You are still the perfect size for snuggling. You love Rescue Bots and you felt bad about leaving Paw Patrol behind. You are kind, sweet, and above all else JOYOUS. Much like your joy is all encompassing, your hurt feelings or anger are also all encompassing. Your father likes to say you have been “notoriously wronged!” when you are upset and your anger is righteous! You, sir, are fully committed to whatever it is you are feeling.

You hate pants. In fact the very moment you get home you are pantsless. We are all used to it and in the words of your brother. “Huck has no pants on, that’s just his thing.” I used to fight you on it, but now…I just laugh. This too shall pass and soon you’ll be grown and off and I will laugh at how you used to wear a shirt and shoes and no pants.

Your perspective on the world is a constant delight. You handle your brother’s anxiety and sensory issues  beautifully. Willingly switching your party to a place he could enjoy, even when I reassured you that your party should be wherever YOU wanted it to be.

Max is reading Harry Potter right now and you’ve scratched your forehead in the exact Harry Potter spot, the other day  we were talking about it being a bummer we are Muggles and you piped up “not all of us! Max has super powers!” We frequently say that Max has super sonic hearing because of how easily loud noises can upset him. In that moment you made your big brother feel amazing. Thank you for that.

Spending time with you is so much fun, I am looking forward to trips this summer and lazy afternoons with you. There is nothing I don’t adore about you. You are a good, sweet boy, and while mischief comes easily to you, empathy comes even more naturally.

I am proud of how you grow every day.

You are my Huckleberry, through and through.

I cannot wait to see what this next year brings for you. You cannot wait to start Kindergarten and you are whip smart! I hope that you will be able to learn to follow rules and listen, while not losing that spirit and sweetness that make you YOU!

I love you always. Exactly as you are.






You can read Huck’s Fourth Birthday Letter Here  his third, second and first!

There he goes, there he goes again.


The Chucks arrived in the literal nick of time. We needed to leave at 9:10 to get Huckleberry to school and they were left on our doorstep at 8:45. Debra at Converse had promised me Huckie would wear them for his first day, just like big brother and Debra meant what she said.

I had him all ready go, wearing his lion shoes that were a close second, and I was praying he wouldn’t remember how he wanted the “tall tops” for his first day. We walked down the stairs and saw the box and I said “Huckie! What do you think this is?” And he got all happy and yelled “MINE CHUCKS!”

I will cry with “mine” becomes “my”.

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The thing about having a big brother is that they set the tone for everything a little brother does. Mostly that is great, but sometimes not so much. Max was anxious about school. Huck was not…until he realized Max was anxious about it and you know what? Anxiety can be contagious. Huck suddenly felt he SHOULD be anxious about it when really he was excited. School is Huck’s jam. He is so social and excited to do just about anything I sometimes wish he could go to school all day because he just loves hanging with his buddies and doing stuff.

And let’s be honest, preschool is pretty rad. Paint a little, sing a song, read a book, have a snack, hit the playground; preschool is nice work if you can get it!

Max asked if he could go to school a little bit late so he could walk Huck in and it was so sweet. Just before Huck went into his classroom he said he needed to hold Max’s hand and Max held it tight and told Huck where he had sat in that very classroom. He walked Huck in.

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Then Huck fell apart. He came roaring back out crying and I held him tightly, hugged him and told him it would be okay, we would be back soon!

Then we took Max to school and hit Starbucks. Obviously.

At 11:45  my friend KG texted me “almost time to get Huckie and see how his first day went!” I texted back “not till 12:30”

Guess which one of us was right?

I rolled up at 12:15 thinking “why aren’t they on the playground? It’s so nice out!” right as I walked in I realized I wasn’t 15 minutes early, I was 15 minutes late. Way. To. Go. Mom!

All I can say is…at least I messed up the right way with the right child. Max would have been a WRECK. Huck was like “sweet! more time to hang out!” I mea culpa’d to the teacher and staff and let’s just say I won’t be doing that again.

Huck told me he loved school and it was fun and the next morning he said “mommy, is it okay if I don’t miss you when I am at mine school?”


I told him his whole job was to have fun and learn. After pick up (I was early by the way) I asked if he made any new friends. He told me he knew all the girls names. Priorities, people. Huckie has them.

My sweet, snugly, spirited guy is off on his next adventure and feel like one of those instagram girls: Hashtag BLESSED. 2015-05-25 15.04.16-1

Oh Huck, I love you so. Have a wonderful year!

Hey Jealousy…

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Oh, my sweet crazy middle child. He has had a rough go of it the last month. Not only has he been sick, like terrifyingly what on earth is wrong with my baby sick, but he has watched oh so closely as big brother got a new backpack for school, new shoes, new clothes, new everything!

Baby brother has hand me downs. This injustice was made worse by not only his feeling poorly physically and eaten alive by jealousy of Max’s new high top converse,  then….THEN Piper’s first birthday gift showed up from Auntie Bridget. Pink converse, personalized with a purple butterfly and monogrammed with her name.   Huck was beside himself.  He was now, the ONLY member of our family without Chucks.

It’s the little things, right?

Sometimes you just gotta toss out all the mismatched socks and hit Target for all brand new white easy to to match socks. Sometimes you gotta plop your middle baby right on your lap, put him on and let the little man order himself some new kicks. I thought he would choose red ones. He had mentioned red and of course, Lightning McQueen is red, so Huck’s new shoes would be red. Nope. Max won over McQueen and Huckleberry quickly chose black high top chucks, just like big brother. I paid for quick shipping so hopefully they will be here by Tuesday when he starts school. He can’t wait.

For now we just keep hoping he continues to heal, that this virus soon leaves him behind. After many, many, many trips to the doctor our sweet Baboo was diagnosed with HSP.  At first we thought he was just covered with bug bites but they soon overtook his whole body and we watched as lesions bloomed on his skin before our eyes.  Then they would blister and scab. He had been vaccinated against Chicken Pox (yay science!) but what else could it be? The pediatricians went back and forth, consulting specialists and emailing pictures of his skin to one another. He has excellent care. He had a blood test which came back good, which was great but provided no clues as to what was knocking our boy out. And the blisters and now a high fever just kept coming. Tylenol did nothing. Motrin worked….but only for 2-3 hours and then it shot back up. He was drinking water and sprite so at least that was good.  His doctor said if the fever doesn’t break by Friday we will have to put him in Children’s.

It broke Thursday morning, 2 a.m.  Since then he has been fever free and the blisters are fewer and farther between, but it can take 6 weeks for it to get out of his system, and those thing itch like crazy. He has been such a trooper.

Yesterday he had a dance party and tried to beat up his sister….so I think we are getting back to our old crazy wonderful Huckleberry.

Tonight he has a back to school picnic at “mine school!”, Chucks are on the way, and he even got a brand new non- hand me down shirt (his favorite color) for HIS first day of school.

I’m thinking like Mary Tyler Moore, he is gonna make it after all.


Enjoy Huckleberry

We all have our hobbies and my husband’s hobby is silk screening t-shirts. He is very good at it and he recently made me a shirt in the fashion of the coca cola logo that said “enjoy Huckleberry”. Sometimes life lessons smack you in the head from the strangest places, in this case, a t-shirt. I do enjoy my Huckleberry, though sometimes I get mired down in the exhausting spiritedness of mothering such a sparkler. This is MY failing of course, I try to control and get frustrated at times when I should really just take a deep breath and enjoy Huckleberry. Honestly, what’s not to enjoy?

for web (1 of 1)-7This is a kid who finds joy in almost everything. He is unabashedly himself. Other kids flock to him and without a blink he is off and running to play, laugh and enjoy being Huckleberry. He is always in. We running around screaming? I’m in! Playing Legos? I’m in!

On Sunday we took over the Splash Park to celebrate our Huckleberry and almost 40 people joined us for pizza, cupcakes, and fun. I marvel at the ease with which this newly four year old moves between social groups, from school to t-ball to family he seamlessly flits between them and brings everyone together. He is always up for a good time,  and we sure did have one!

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It was so precious.


Though the wind threatened to blow out his candles for him, he kept smiling. He was so sweetly happy that all those people were singing for him.IMG_6553


Hint: if you have to shop for a present for a four year old boy, may I indeed suggest Velociraptor hands. They were/are a huge hit.  Thanks CG.IMG_6795




Despite my thinking it was a picture perfect day, Huck informed me that he was mad. You see, he invited Big Bird and Elmo and they didn’t attend, what jerks.

Rip my heart out kid. Good thing my mom got him tickets to Sesame Place for his birthday. Then he passed out in my arms, snuggled down with his Grer Bear and took one more step towards 5.


Enjoy, my little Huckleberry. You teach me every day. I love you.


Every year on my children’s birthdays I write them a letter. This is Huck’s fourth birthday letter.

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My dearest Huckleberry,

WE DID IT! We made it to four! I always joked that if I made it through your third year I was going to buy myself a present, because whoa boy were you ever three! There were a few nights where I cried that I was failing you as a mother, but we made it, you and me.

I want you to know, as you grow older and we tell stories of your third year, that they always were, are, and will be told with love. You are such a good boy. You are sweet and thoughtful and kind. Just yesterday it was raining and you insisted you would get your Lightning McQueen umbrella to keep me from getting wet. Piper wanted your beloved Grer Bear, and you tolerated her giving him a snuggle or two before wanting him back – which I assured you was okay, Grer Bear is very special to you, and you don’t have to share him. Piper was upset, she wanted Grer Bear! I told you how she wanted him because you love him and you graciously offered any of your other bears to her. When she didn’t take to them the way she did to Grer Bear, you rightfully decided it’s because they weren’t as floppy and snuggly as Grer Bear, so you ordered me that the next time we shop the first thing we are to look for is a bear just like Grer Bear for Piper. She needs  her own.

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You and Max are still close, you fight more than before as you get older and have your own ideas, but you also create more intricate games between the two of you. You always run to the door to wave goodbye as Max goes to school and you always say “I love you!”

You are in love with Piper, however you get in trouble a lot because you are rough with her. You just want to play with her and love her and smother her with cuddles. The two of you are figuring it out and when she looks at you she has hearts in her eyes. She adores you! Sometimes you and Max play around in front of her and she thinks you two are the funniest people in the world!

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The three of you laughing together is, without a doubt, the best sound in the universe.

I hope you never feel the trap of the middle child, that you are overlooked, you are not.

You play baseball with brother now and you like it, you rarely make it through a whole game, usually playing an inning or two and then heading off to the sandbox to play. You say you like it and we will keep you in it unless you change your mind. Perhaps you’ll fall in love with something else, and I promise you we will be all in for whatever that may be.

You are quick to anger and quick to forgive.  When you’re mad you say to whoever has offended you “YOU BUTT!” and we try not to laugh because you are so mad but it’s so adorably wrong, we can’t help but smile, on the inside anyway. You are the best hugger and snuggler ever. Cuddling with you is HEAVEN. You used to kick us out of your room before you fell asleep saying you needed ‘alone time’ but recently you’ve needed someone with you at all times. “I need an adult” you say. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without your grandmother this year, she stays with you while I negotiate putting your baby sister to bed and your big brother. But I want you to know this KILLS me. It kills me that she reads to you and holds you as you fall asleep, all while I am grateful to her for making you feel so loved and cared for. Sometimes I talk you into letting me read to you and stay with you until you fall asleep, knowing I will have to sneak out once you are asleep. You say to me “will you stay with me the whole, whole, whole, night?” and my heart breaks that the answer can’t be yes. And that by the time it can be yes, you won’t want me to anymore. This is a great sadness in my life. I love being with you, I want to snuggle next to you the whole, whole, whole night.

Your love of McQueen is still going strong! Orange is still your favorite color and you always ask for “nibbles” before bed, cereal to eat while we read to you. You love to dance and sing and be silly. You are free with your “I love you’s” and you are always up for a hug. When we drive you ask me to reach back and hold your foot- you’ve ALWAYS taken off your shoes- and I squeeze it three times for I Love You. Sometimes you’ll insist that I do it. If you are in the car seat and need a hug but I am driving we do a magic hug and we both hug the air.

You have a smile and a spirit that is contagious. You are fearless socially, you get right in! One night we were all talking about you and we said “Huck always brings the party” right then you walked in and said joyously “I’M HERE!” we all cracked up because…yes, yes you are! And you do bring the party!

What would we do without you our spirited, passionate, silly, loving boy? Life would surely be boring without you. I am so grateful we have you, even if you did flip over a kitchen stool because I wouldn’t give you cookies for breakfast.

You may be little but darn it, you are strong!

I love you so much, my Huckleberry. I am so blessed to be your mother. You are a light in this world and you bring joy to everyone you meet.

Happy Birthday my Baboo. Here is to many, many, many more.
2014-2015How much you have grown!

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument…

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that there was an actual way to measure levels of cute, adorableness, and the ridiculousity of sweetness. Like a geiger counter or a richter scale. Or one of those little things the Ghostbusters hold up to measure levels of paranormal energy.

If there was such a monitor, it would probably release cute little hearts all through the air like bubbles and the noise it made would sound like bunnies giggling. If there was such a monitor, then Huck would have broken it.



Because Huck’s preschool never fails to do so-cute-it-makes-you-almost-angry-graduation ceremonies. And to any naysayers who say “why do we need a graduation ceremony for preschool?” I say this to you emphatically.. “FOR THE PARENTS, BECAUSE IT’S G-D CUTE SO TAKE YOUR HUMBUG ELSEWHERE!”

“Congratualtions too..” “Hucklebewwy” He just stole the mic from his amazing teacher and ran away with it…up next hositing SNL.



One of my favorite things they do is list each thing each child likes about school. Like so-n-so likes coloring. Huck? Huck likes playing dress up. Sounds just about right for the child of two parents with very expensive degrees in dressing up.

They sang songs with adorable hand gestures and apparently I was allergic to something in the room because my eyes just kept watering.

Later that evening Huck, still wearing his alien deelyboppers, was coloring intensely, his little tongue sticking out the way he does when he is concentrating. He paused, put his chin in his left hand, looked at me and said in literally the cutest voice I have ever heard,

“Mommy, puppies can be any color, right?”

I feel as though I have blinked and this entire year has gone. Max is almost done with Kindergarten, Huck is done with his 3’s class and off to the 4’s, Piper is almost ONE for pete’s sake.


And darn it all, Huck went and broke the cute-o-meter so what on earth will we do?

Soldier on, I suppose. Bring on the unmeasurable cute….

On my worst days…

I think I have settled on Huck’s 4th birthday party theme and it’s Looks Like We Made It.


I’m kidding of course. Mostly because they don’t sell paper plates with that on it, and also Huck is rather insistent that it’s going to be a Paw Patrol Party no matter how often I point out that the Mayor is crazy weird about her chicken…but truly you guys, I think we might make it!  Slowly but surely the sweet little Huck is conquering the threenager! There are more smiles than tantrums and my little love is more and more himself. Good times. And thank God because, if I am being honest I worry that I am not a very good mother for and to him. I can’t seem to find his currency to help him. No discipline works, he hits me, kicks me and is basically just freaking three to the extreme. Then two minutes later he wants to cuddle and I have emotional whiplash. Time out! No, wait cuddle! I start the day very patiently saying “I know you’re upset but I can’t allow you to hit people.” and by 5 p.m. I’ve poured a Malibu and diet coke (cause I’m classy) and I’m like “I’mma smack you back!” all extra Southern-like and he just laughs cause between you, me, and BeyMax we all know I’m never gonna smack him and most of all he knows it.

I’m struggling and I know it’s harder because I am so freaking tired.

The other day we were driving to school and Max saw a man with his hand out the window, cigarette smoke trailing upward. “Hey mom! Isn’t that the Mad Men logo?” he said. Just make sure you spell my name right on that parenting award.

The other day I said “please don’t lick your sister” and “get your junk off your brother’s head!” no less than 25 times.  That’s S-T-E-P-H-A-N-I-E.

Right now they are laying on the floor half-watching Ghostbusters 2 while I watch Game of Thrones. They are super grumpy with me cause I was horrible mom today who took them to the bounce house with friends and then a play date. Why are they so angry with me when we did nothing but have fun ALL day??? Worst mom ever. Last name  D-U-L-L-I.

So go ahead kids, watch a little tv while I make some mac n cheese. (Don’t worry, internet, it’s organic Amy’s, I’m not a total monster.) ( I’m going to feed them that organic goodness as soon as they finish their red dye filled popsicles.)

But then I think of Sally Draper wearing the dry cleaning bag and being told she’ll be in a lot of trouble if the clothes are on the floor and I think well, at least on my worst day I’m still a better mother than Betty Draper.


The best laid plans…


I had grand plans of Piper’s first Christmas. Yes, they all had matching PJ’s and I was going to bust out the big camera and do it RIGHT! The tree was packed full of presents. With both Huck and Max fully into Santa and the magic of Christmas we all got a little carried away… but…but…the flu, you guys.


And it was vicious. First victim was my sweet Max. Max rarely gets sick. But they called me to come get him from school before the break and dude went downhill quick. Three days of 103 fever and he was slowly on the mend. Just in time for me to get it. With my sister and nephew arriving for a long anticipated visit I basically handed the baby to my husband and said I AM GOING TO BED. Then slept for 48 hours. I was still icky but feeling okay. We wiped the entire house will all manner of lysol and toxic flu killing chemicals and welcomed my sister hoping we had stopped it in it’s tracks.

Not so much. We had a few good days and then it hit Huck like a Mac truck. He is the one we worry about, everything ends up in his lungs, just like mama. So we are still crawling out from under this bug. I hate it and wish it would die already!!

But Christmas was lovely nonetheless. I truly am one of those people don’t understand. I’d love to have my kids home allllllllllll the time. I am so selfish and want them and their awesomeness all to myself.

Except when I want to get away.

So now, the tree is down. My sister is gone and I am cuddled up with a not feverish but still coughing Huckleberry…

Back to life.

I thought a minivan was the nail in the coffin of cool. I was wrong.


When I first got my minivan I was conflicted. I mean who drives these things? Certainly not ME, who despite two kids and another one on the way (at the time) still felt twenty-five. Still felt that 10 p.m. was an acceptable time to begin getting ready to go out for the evening. In my head anyway. Clearly delusional as in reality I don’t go out past 10 p.m. Unless it’s a special occasion like someone’s birthday and then dudes, the next day mama is tired!

I thought as I crawled into my minivan “This is it. The end of cool”. But at the same time I love that Goddamn thing so much. I named her Ethel (to my Lucy, naturally) and I don’t know how I ever lived without her. She makes life ever so much easier. She keeps children from flinging open doors into parked cars. She has room  for baseball gear and thrifted dressers and multiple strollers. She has a remarkably good sound system for blaring Boys To Men while carting my drunk friends around on one of the aforementioned out past ten p.m. birthday outings. She is the bread to my butter and I love her.

Even if that makes me uncool.

That was the pinnacle I felt. I have fallen as far the fallen can fall. But I was wrong. I was oh, so wrong.

It started earlier this week when I was at Stay at Home Mom Mecca (Starbucks) and Huckleberry laid eyes on a minivan much like ours except in one respect.

It had reindeer antlers and a nose.

To say Huck lost his sugar honey ice tea would be an understatement. “Is a reindeer car, mommy! Is RUDOLPH!”  It was awesome! I mean it’s awesome if you’re three. If you’re ME? Not so much!

“We need that for our car!” He gleefully cried.


Next thing I knew I had hit two Party City stores and three Five Belows in an effort to acquire such accoutrements for my minivan.

So there’s cool. Then there’s minivan level not cool but still holding on by your fingernails cool. Then there’s a 100 foot drop to rock bottom of cool and it’s there that they hand you the antlers. And it’s worth it.


See ya “cool”. Catch ya on the flip side.  For now, cool is putting antlers on vans happily being willing to be looked at askance by other drivers. The looks they give me doesn’t matter. The light in his -and as it turns out his too-cool-for-school- big brother’s eyes? That matters.

And in their eyes. It’s the coolest ride in town.

Santa from Target.

Santa! I know him!

Santa! I know him!


Sometimes after I drop Max off at school I take my little ones out for a little Mommy date. At Target, I know, I just pull my Uggs over my leggings and head on out to the Target with the Starbucks. Basically I am the most basic b in full basic heaven.

As Huck had a 9:30 am snack of milk and a snowman cookie and I nursed Piper (don’t worry, she was gently tucked under my basic blanket scarf) I noticed that Huck was slowly losing his mind with excitement; he was almost jumping out of his skin. I turned and saw the cause. Santa. This Target employee was  male, of a certain age and physical build. He wearing the requisite Target red shirt, had long white hair and a white beard and he did indeed look like Santa. I personally always suspected Santa worked at Target, admit it you did too. Or at least had a crazy Target hook up.

Huck was nearly squeaking with excitement. Wiggling in his chair, his eyes lit up like lights on the tree. He was hyped up on vanilla milk, Christmas spirit and the ultimate celebrity sighting. Santa either hadn’t noticed  or was uninterested in being Santa. The woman in line behind him offered to buy him his drink, she had noticed Huck and said pointedly to the man “Santa should never have to pay for his own drink!” She smiled and looked at Huck sharing the joy of catching Santa in the wild. I smiled at her, thankful. I was arguing with myself in head…how could he not play the part? One doesn’t just walk about looking like Santa and not BE Santa at Christmas time, I thought and then immediately I felt for him. It must be exhausting everyone thinking you look like Santa. Then again, he was a grown man who obviously cultivated and liked his look (as he should) and thus had a responsibility to play the part when called upon by a small child.  I’m certain the angsty teens of the world had wearied him, as teens are want to do, but the tiny ones? Come on, Santa! Reindeer up!

I was beginning to despair, Huck was starting to be sad that Santa hadn’t seen him or worse, had seen him and didn’t care. I looked at the woman in line and she nodded encouragingly. I whispered to Huck that Santa must be undercover. He must be doing recon, checking out all the goodies that Target had, or maybe he was sneaking a peek at Huckleberry himself to make sure he was on the nice list, and reassured Huck that he was. I was trying everything to make it okay that Santa was less than 4 feet away from my little believer and Santa didn’t seem to care.

Which was his right…except he looks like Santa…oh the inner argument began again.

Santa collected his drink and began to make his way out of Starbucks, passing right past Huck. My heart fell in on itself. My poor kid. Then suddenly, Santa turned around, gave Huck the most conspiratorial wink that Santa ever winked and shhhhh’d a tiny shhhhh. It’s our secret was the message. And it was received loud and clear.

Like the Grinch, Huck’s heart grew three sizes right that second, threatening to burst out of his chest and showering us all with sparkly snowflakes.

Santa made his way back to work with a nice gingerbread latte and my undying gratitude.

I should have had faith in Santa. His little wink was better than if he had come over and boomed a Merry Christmas. It was perfect. Thank you #SantaFromTarget.

Yours was the best gift we have ever gotten from Target, and that is saying a lot.

Merry Christmas.