This is Abigail. No, not Abigail the monster dog next door. Abigail the vivacious visitor from Duluth. And no, she's not giving us the raspberry; how could you think such a thing? She's being a reindeer.
She's a lot like her dad.
Abby and her big sister and their parents, John and Ann, and their two chocolate Labs came down from Duluth for the weekend to celebrate early Christmas with us. Their visit is always the high point of the holiday season. Good friends! Big dogs! Good food! Little kids! No family politics! That extremely delightful chaos that says everyone is comfortable together and happy to be here.
In an e-mail, Ann casually offered to make manicotti for Saturday night dinner and bring it down. No, no, no, I wrote back. You have enough to do! Don't make dinner for us, too. Just come on down.
(To which Doug said, later: Are you crazy? She offered to make manicotti! Manicotti! But by then it was too late, so I made chili.)
I am not going to tell you how many Christmas cookies we consumed. And I am certainly not going to tell you how many I, personally, consumed. The dogs were very happy to find constant crumbs in unexpected places.
Abby's sister, Maggie, is quiet and self-contained and has a very dry sense of humor. She is a very good big sister and tries to keep Abby in check. You can imagine how well that goes over with constantly-in-motion Abigail. In most of the pictures we took, she is a blur.
She also has a ton of natural charm. And she knows how to turn it on, especially when she really, really, really wants to open up her presents. As she did. (But she was very good about waiting.)
What a little angel! Two little angels! (What's that sound? Their mom snorting with laughter and saying, "Yeah, right"?) I'm just happy the tree didn't choose that moment to fall over on top of them.
The highlight of the weekend was Doug's present to John: a mechanical duck-hunting game. (John and Ann are avid duck-hunters.) I'm not entirely sure how it works, except that the mechanical duck actually flaps its wings and flies, and the gun emits some kind of beam that shoots the duck out of the sky.
... where, no doubt, we annoyed and possibly terrified our neighbors.