With Tony's help, I bought an over the top present for our niece's second birthday - she loved it immediately and thankfully my sister and brother-in-law did too :)
After the party, my sister texted to say that she'll never forget the sight of me walking into the room with the giant dog, and to be honest neither will I! I was so excited (and nervous about its size) that I teared up when my niece saw it and her little face lit up. She rested her head on its head immediately, it was so sweet.
I had actually meant to buy something small and fun to go with a few practical presents I'd already bought and asked Tony to help me because he's great at shopping for toys. The dog was his pick - he was sure she'd love it because it was so soft and cute, and he was totally right.
I love being an aunt and this year has been especially rewarding. In the last few months my niece has started asking (and sometimes demanding) to call and Skype me, and on one visit to Sydney she said, 'No bye' when it was time for me to go. I've been floored by her love and it's made me see just how unconditional my love for her is, it had never crossed my mind that she might say 'I love you' in return one day.
But I'm getting sentimental, back to the giant dog. Almost everyone in my family asked how the dog was transported from Wagga Wagga to Sydney - it looked a little something like this:
If you're in the market for a giant dog, this one came from ToysRus and cost around $40. It comes in brown too! The Peppa Pig doll house my brother chose was also a big hit, as was the Magna Doodle she received from her mum.