Ah, Christmas. This year it was particularly lovely, I must say. This post may be a bit boring for anyone who isn't family, but like I always say, it's more for me to look back and remember than anything. And besides, it's a nice change of pace to talk about something other than the wedding, which is now, you guessed it, only five days away. Eek!
With my handsome fiance in tow, we headed south to Alabama on Christmas Eve morning, with the car filled to the brim with Christmas presents and suitcases. Upon arrival in Tuscaloosa, we stopped in Midtown Village AND the University Mall, which were both complete and utter madhouses. It was actually a little scary seeing that many people on a misison to find last-minute gifts. We truly could have gotten trampled at one point. Like Billy Currington says, people are crazy.
For a nice change of pace, we made a pit stop to see the Lawsons (and to give Lilly Lawson, our flower girl, her gift for the wedding - an ivory fur stole, just like the one I'll be wearing!) and got to chat for a bit before heading on to see our dear family friend, Mattie Jackson (a precious lady that not only helped raise me, but also my dad). She has the biggest, kindest heart of anyone I know and I love her more than words could express. Mr. T has heard me talk about her a lot and all the fond memories I have of her from childhood, and it was so wonderful that I could finally introduce him to her.
After hugging Mattie goodbye, and watching her wave from the door for a solid five minutes, love her, we headed home to pick up my parents for the Christmas Eve service at their church - a tradition that dates back as long as I can remember. There's something about those Christmas traditions that I just love and hope to pass on when day when we have kiddos. I was a little bummed they didn't pass out the candles and dim the lights to sing "Silent Night" like I remembered, but we got to do that at the candlelight service at our church here in Nashville, so at least I got my fix. And by the way, can I just say that I LOVE our church, Cross Point. I can honestly say it is hands down the best church I've ever been a part of, and it has truly rocked the way I look at religion. Our pastor, Pete Wilson, did a great series called "Rhythm" in December that focused on how we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and lose sight of the joy. He had great visuals that could be used as reminders throughout the season - like every time you see a lit-up house or tree, say to yourself "May I shine." Or everytime you see a gift, say "Life is a gift." Simple, and yet so very true.
Anyway, so after the Christmas Eve service we headed over to a family potluck dinner for all the folks on my Dad's side of the family (my mom's family lives in Louisiana). My Aunt Margaret, who is all of 82 years old and is the definition of a pistol, took pride in introducing Mr. T to all the family, and telling everyone how handsome he was. She thinks it embarrasses him, but he secretly loves it. We headed home and opened some wedding gifts that my mom had been collecting, and while Mr. T watched football, I proceeded to make a fudge pie for the Christmas feast the next day.
On Christmas Day, my brother and his family came over to open gifts before the larger crowd arrived at noon to eat. I have four beautiful nieces, both inside and out, and all but one of them (the eight year old) is taller than me now! It's crazy how much they've grown over the last year. They're all pretty excited about coming to Nashville for the wedding, so I got them pretty patterned travel bags they can put their cosmetics and toiletries in. Buying for girls is so much easier than buying for boys, I think! I just think back to what I would have wanted at their age. My favorite gifts were the the hand-carved wooden frames my brother and the girls made for Craig and me, and one of them had our wedding invitation already mounted inside - so beautiful!
After all the family arrived, we sat down to a feast fit for a king. I was proud of two things this year - one, I finally got to sit at the adult table (guess that's what bringing a fiance gets you), and two, that I was able to limit myself to small portions and no second helpings, but I did enjoy a tiny bit of everything on the table. I hope my wedding dress doesn't hate me for it. And if it does, well, there's always Spanx. Once everyone left, we laid down on the sofa to watch - you guessed it- more football, which turned into the best after-Christmas nap I have ever had. I'm talking a solid two hours of the deepest, coziest, most satisfying sleep and it. was. heavenly.
Rejuvenated from the nap, we decided to head to the movies and catch this movie, which had just come out and seemed like the go-to choice.
Umm, I give it a B minus. I mean, it held my attention and all, and the action sequences were awesome, but I like a little more plot to keep me interested. And perhaps a bit more love story. Robert Downey Jr. is an incredible actor, though, and his English accent was perfection. I should mention that the first showing of the movie was sold out, so Mr. T and I had about 45 minutes to kill before the next one. We knew there was nothing that would be open on Christmas day, until a neon orange light beckoned us from across the road. What could it be? Nothing other than ye ole' Hooters, beckoning with the promise of fried pickles and buffalo wings. Did I feel a teensy bit icky walking in there on Christmas Day? That's an affirmative. But was a cold beer and a plate of fried food with my man the perfect ending to the day? Most definitely. We got to decompress a bit after all the chaos of the holidays, and just enjoy talking. You kind of forget how good it feels to talk about something other than the wedding in those last few weeks. The one thing we both agreed on was that if we had to change anything about this process, we would have made the engagement about two months shorter. Ten months was just a little too long for us!
We headed back to Nashville on Saturday morning and spent the evening unpacking all of our goodies and putting together the wedding programs - yes, it is an exciting life we lead, people. But we wanted to reserve our energy for the next night, because Santa had brought me what I had my heart set on - two tickets to see the Zac Brown Band at the Ryman on Sunday night!!! And it was stellar, my friends. Truly one of the best performances I have ever seen. I am now President of the Nashville Chapter of their fan club. Kidding. But I'm considering it...
Wow, now that is some recap. Can you tell I'm procrastinating all the last-minute wedding duties I have yet to do?
Oh, and a question for all of you ladies that are knowledgable on facials - is it wise to get one two days before the wedding? I thought it would give me a fresh, clean slate for the makeup gal, but I'm worried I'll end up with a gigantic breakout session on my hands. Don't facials tend to bring everything to the surface? For all of you who are recently married, let me know what to do!