HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

Came back to Seattle yesterday, after a wonderfully restful holiday break. The last one I had that was even close to this long was four years ago, when I was a lowly unpaid intern that could take off a month for Christmas, just like I did in college. Perks of being a small business owner! Flip side is that technically you're always working. Sadly, I was a bit of a delinquent small business owner and didn't open my laptop once in a fortnight. I'm chalking this one up to a learning experience...

  Flying east early on Christmas morning to a beautiful sunrise. 

Flying east early on Christmas morning to a beautiful sunrise. 

Anyhow, this time with my family refreshed my soul. I can tell because today I woke up at 5am (thanks East Coast jet lag) ready to take on the day, and have made it almost all the way through with minimal distraction. Starting the day with Crossfit and pep talks from Dave really helped as well. 

These past two weeks were so full. Not full of activity, but of real, honest living. I felt like every day was so valuable, so full of things to be cherished. My heart is brimming over.

  All the Metty kids and their spouses. Three of us married off in 18 months. Thanks to Jessie and the  Studio app  for this one. 

All the Metty kids and their spouses. Three of us married off in 18 months. Thanks to Jessie and the Studio app for this one. 

I got to spend time with both sets of grandparents, catch up with dear friends from high school and college, be in my home church for an incredible miracle, and spend hours and hours with my parents and siblings. Food and rest and presents and laughter abounded. The greatest Christmas gift was to be with my family — my mom, my dad, my brothers and their wives, and my sister. I've never been more thankful for each of them. 

  Brackett grandparents

Brackett grandparents

  Metty grandparents

Metty grandparents

There were so many quality conversations, about things that matter. Not that there haven't been before, but our family has been through so much transition in the past three years or so that we're sometimes a little bewildered when we get together. It's like life has happened too fast, and our relationships haven't always been able to keep up. I didn't realize how much marriage would impact every single relationship in my life. Seriously — every one. So it was a good time to do a little soul-searching and maintenance with those that I love. And I'm so thankful that we did. I feel renewed and restored. 

  24th (?) annual Metty gingerbread house. This year it was a competition - we all made mini "houses." Some people made Millennium Falcons or outhouses. 

24th (?) annual Metty gingerbread house. This year it was a competition - we all made mini "houses." Some people made Millennium Falcons or outhouses. 

  Road trip to Boone! Note sleeping husband in the backseat. 

Road trip to Boone! Note sleeping husband in the backseat. 

  Jessie pretty much has the cutest college house ever. Also known as "Cubson's Lair."  You'll have to ask her.  

Jessie pretty much has the cutest college house ever. Also known as "Cubson's Lair." You'll have to ask her. 

  Family hike at Grandmother Mountain. 

Family hike at Grandmother Mountain. 

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  I never thought I'd say it, but she's a mountain girl. 

I never thought I'd say it, but she's a mountain girl. 

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Living away from home for a few years, I'm more appreciative now of our family traditions. When you're growing up, you just assume that everyone else does things the way your family does them — the same methods of celebration and remembrance. Or just little customs to break up the mundane. 

Like pizza night. I LOVE pizza night. My parents have been in search of the perfect pizza crust ever since moving back from Italy in 2001, and they decided the only real way to find it was to make it themselves. And the tradition continues, most Friday nights. Party animals that we are, my parents and Dave and I celebrated New Year's Eve this way, followed by Hairspray and watching the ball drop on TV. We were all in bed by 12:05. Rock on. 

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I think Jessie started a new tradition this year with dominos. My dad's been working in Puerto Rico for the past two and half years (thank JESUS it's over now!), so he brought back a set and Jessie taught us how to play Mexican Train. THE BEST. Just enough strategy to make it fun, not stressful. Win.  

  Was so great to catch up with Lindsay! Friends for like 15 years!

Was so great to catch up with Lindsay! Friends for like 15 years!

  My sister-in-law Stacey with Lindsay's little guy Emory

My sister-in-law Stacey with Lindsay's little guy Emory

  Sock knitting lessons from Granny

Sock knitting lessons from Granny

  I kind of can't get enough of this girl

I kind of can't get enough of this girl

  These two. Love them. Love their love.

These two. Love them. Love their love.

Other family traditions I love: Christmas Eve White Dinner, the aforementioned gingerbread house, watching THEE best and THEE funniest home videos ever, home made pasta nights, excessive married PDA in the kitchen, everything do-it-yourself, singing all the lyrics wrong, emptying the whole fridge before you go to the grocery store again, and the way Dad prays on the drive to church on Sunday morning. 

It's the little things. These are my people.