We met Anja!

What a thrill the girls had tonight! 

Anja Breiehagen and her parents came to town for a book signing at Gertens. And let me tell you, this 14-year-old from South Minneapolis -- the star of the bestselling Wish book series I recently blogged about -- is such a gem. 

She was absolutely wonderful with the girls, who dressed as Anja and were starry-eyed about meeting "the real Anja." (Jane forgot her age when Anja inquired.) 

She took great interest in the books Maria creates and drew them in with her gentle ways. (If she weren't so busy, her mom told me, she'd enjoy babysitting. But this teen is already committed to multiple soccer teams and an acclaimed band.) 

It was a magical night to be at Gertens. The snow fell as the girls explored their grounds, all decked out with garlands, wreaths and fresh-cut trees. (They smell soooo good!) 

There are plenty of little hideaways for those who are close to the ground. 

On our drive home, as Bryan Adams' "Christmas Time" played on the radio and the snow darted against the dashboard, Jane remarked, "We're lucky, right?"

And then, in her 3-year-old wisdom, she answered her own question. "We're the luckiest." 

Once we were home, the girls begged to shovel. They set to work gleefully, shoveling our driveway and the neighbor's -- "a good deed," Maria exclaimed! -- and pretending to be Santa's elves. 

Behold, the handiwork of a preschool shoveler. 

We warmed up inside by the fire and sipped hot cocoa before the girls drifted off to sleep. 

There's something about Christmas time...



Anja and her parents will be in Woodbury this Saturday and in Minneapolis and Edina next weekend. Check out this event page for the complete schedule of their holiday book signings. 

 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three children (and fourth on the way!) in Inver Grove Heights.