Matt and I had the best time at Christmas being in the US and with our families! We were so grateful that we got to come home this year, we don't know if that will always be the case. Matt could only come home for one week, but I stayed for 3 weeks, partially because I wanted to, and partially because I sat for a section of the CPA exam, which isn't offered in the month of December, so I took it January 4th.
You know how sometimes December rolls around and you just don't feel like it's Christmas time? This year that did not happen to me at all. I really felt like I didn't take anything for granted and really enjoyed the time I was home. We flew into Atlanta and actually went straight from the airport to visit Passion City Church. Matt's mom had heard of this church, where Louie Giglio preaches and Chris Tomlin leads worship, and we haven't been to church in awhile, so we were up for it! It was amazing. David Crowder was actually there too and he sang one song, solo, just him and the guitar, and it was amazing. I don't even remember what song he sang, but it was my favorite part of the service. And it just felt so good to be in church again.
The next day, we had the most amazing Taco Night at Matt's grandparent's house. Matt's grandmother, Gogo, makes these delicious tacos - she makes each one by hand, it takes hours, and she rolls each one up in a paper towel. You keep all your paper towels, and at the end the boys always see who ate the most. It was so much fun because Matt's Dad's side of the family was there, cousins, aunts and uncles, so there were a lot of people. Matt and his cousin Bryan tied at a new record of 15 tacos. (Just to keep that in perspective, the most I've ever eaten is 4!)
Matt and Bryan after eating the tacos
Me, Elizabeth (my sister) and Blair (my brother) at Taco night
Me and Matt
The next night we had Ribs and Wings night at my house, my mom is known for her world-famous (or at least friends and family famous) ribs. She cooks them almost all day and uses Dreamland BBQ sauce, they are so good. We had a pretty big crowd and all the food was delicious and very Southern, not Spanish! haha... We had baked beans, salad, bread, ribs, wings, mashed potatoes, brownies and probably some other delicious things I can't remember now.
My Dad got us all tickets to the Alabama basketball game that was being played in Birmingham at the BJCC on Wednesday night. It was really fun to watch Alabama kill the other team, and it was great to be around so many Bama fans all in one place! Being at the game reminded me of going to the basketball games in Tuscaloosa while I was in college, it was so much fun.
The rest of the week we spent time with our families mostly, just hanging out in living rooms watching TV or playing games or just talking. We wish we could have seen more friends, but the time was so short we didn't get to. We are really excited about being in Birmingham May-August this year and getting to see more people then.
We went to the Christmas Eve Service at Church of the Highlands, our home church in Birmingham, which we love and miss. The service was so good! John Larson opened the service, and again I can't remember what he sang, it was my favorite part though! Or tied for my favorite part with the end of the worship when Sara Evans sang, because of course that was amazing. I always love the candlelight at the end, too.
Matt and I did a pretty good job this Christmas Day of spreading ourselves between our families. Since he was home for less time (and had to leave the day after Christmas), we worked it out where he could stay at his house all day on Christmas, which he really enjoyed. I went to my house Christmas morning to open presents, then my family came over later in the day and our families ate Christmas dinner together. Later that night, I went over to my Dad's house to open even more presents and just hang out. It was really nice this year, because every year we struggle with going back and forth (our families live 10 min apart) and the two of us feel really rushed. So this year was good.
In other news, Matt gave me a Mac Book Pro for Christmas! It was totally unexpected! I was so surprised! When we were opening presents, he gave me a pair of purple Taylor Swift gloves. I like purple, and I like Taylor Swift, and I had asked for new gloves, so I liked them, but we kept opening presents, and that was it. So Matt asked me "Did you have a good Christmas?" knowing I was disappointed that he only gave me a pair of gloves. Everyone started getting up and getting coffee and everything, and then Matt said "oh wait, I think there is one more present!" He was standing behind me and slowly lowered it down in front of me, so everyone in the room was excited before I even saw what it was. I was SO surprised! And I love surprises. I had no idea, and I was really really excited and in disbelief. My computer is really old but I didn't know we were in the market for a new one. The newness still hasn't worn off and just about all I do for fun over here is play on my Mac. :)
So overall, it was a really great Christmas. I really felt like I was able to fully appreciate family and friends and Jesus. There were so many times where I just looked around (at taco night, at ribs, on random weeknights at home, at the Christmas Eve service at church) and was just in disbelief at how blessed I am. I am so grateful for all the amazing people in my life...and especially one in particular :)