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  • Writer's pictureHayley Echols

Family Christmas

This is my dad's side of the family. Getting this picture was an adventure :)

Happy New Year!

It's January 19, 2019 and I feel like I am still trying to get back into my usual routine/work habits after taking a nice break for the holidays. I was very intentional about getting photos with my "real camera" as opposed to my iPhone camera over the holidays, so I thought making a blog post would be a fun way to share those photos.

Me & my mom on Christmas Day at her parents' house

Taylor's Mom's side of the family

Christmas time has the potential to be exhausting and stressful with all of the holiday gatherings, last minute shopping, cooking and baking, etc. This year, Taylor & I worked hard to come up with a plan that made sense for us so that we were not driving all over town and so that we could really find time to rest and relax during our break. We began our Christmas adventures at Taylor's parents' house in Athens, Georgia (well, really Bogart, but how many of you actually know where that is?). While there, we celebrated Christmas with his mom's side of the family (we had celebrated with his dad's side of the family the week prior). We enjoyed playing on my mother-in-law's new piano, eating some yummy food & watching Christmas movies by the fire. My mother-in-law decided that instead of doing presents with her side of the family this year, we would sponsor a family in the Athens area for Christmas. Each individual family within our family was assigned a child to buy clothes and gifts for. We were able to deliver the gifts on Christmas Eve Eve and it was really special. I loved that my mother-in-law had that idea.

My sweet cousin, Maleah, on Christmas Day

On Christmas Eve afternoon, we headed back to Roswell for some time together, just the two of us. It was my first time missing my childhood church's Christmas Eve service and I was honestly sad about that. My dad has been the pastor at Ephesus Baptist Church for over 25 years now and so that means I have been attending that special Christmas Eve service since my very first Christmas Eve! We did, however, attend our church's Christmas Eve service & it was wonderful. We are so grateful for our church, First Baptist Alpharetta!

On Christmas morning, Taylor & I woke up & opened presents from each other, and then headed to my Grandmama & Papa's house for lunch in Smyrna, Georgia. We were the first ones there so we got to help with last minute details. My Grandmama is always the hostess with the mostest so it was fun to watch her behind the scenes before everyone arrived.

Grandmama took a 2-second break to smile while she was cooking up something good in the kitchen ;)

Taylor & I both have big families and I honestly love it. Even though it's hard to split time between everyone, there is so much excitement in the room each time we are together. I am the oldest cousin, so when I was growing up, there were tons of little kids running around and I just loved being the "mom" to all of them. Now they are all grown up & it is crazy how we are beginning to start families of our own.

One of my beautiful aunts, Andrea.

After we were done eating yummy food, celebrating Jesus' birthday and playing ping-pong around the table which is a Harris family tradition, Taylor & I headed to Douglasville where my parents live. In the past, we have done our "Christmas" together on Christmas Eve, but this year we did it on the evening of Christmas Day. I appreciate going to my parent's house so much now that I'm a married woman. There is nothing like having your mom take care of you! (She spoils us..)

Nana & Pawpaw's House

On the day after Christmas, my family always packs up the car and heads to Collierville, Tennessee to visit

my Nana & Pawpaw. This year was quite the adventure! My parents were gracious enough to allow Taylor & I to pack into the car with them this year so that we could save gas money & car mileage (both of our cars are about to bite the dust). I have not always been the most joyful traveler, but I was up for the challenge. Could 6 people, a dog and all of our luggage fit comfortably in the car? Well, maybe

not comfortably, but we made it work. And actually, I had a good time getting to be with my family for the car ride (I've come to appreciate these things in my adulthood). We had some good talks and some good sings (if you know my family-you know we sing all the time).

Nana & Pawpaw

We finally made it to my Nana and Pawpaw's just in time for some of my Nana's famous homemade

cornbread and vegetable soup. For the rest of the week, we enjoyed playing board games together, sleeping in until noon, and catching up with cousins. Two of my cousins are actually getting married this summer, so it was fun talking to their fiancees all about the upcoming weddings! We ended time at my Nana & Pawpaw's with a photoshoot the day before we left. It was my Christmas gift to my grandparents. Unfortunately, it was very cold the day of the photoshoot, so we were freezing! But, we made it happen! I used my tripod and self-timer to get the shots I am pictured in.

All in all, I am just so grateful for time with family. We don't always all get along. We are not a perfect family. We have many flaws, but I am committing this year to praying everyday for my family, that we will be unified & bonded together in love. I hope your family had a Merry Christmas & I pray for great times together and memories made in 2019!

My family with Nana & Pawpaw

My aunt, cousin and precious almost cousin-in-laws! (if that's a thing)

My twin cousins, Aaron & Andrew. I remember when we used to play dress up in Nana's old dresses-haha!

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