Winter Break

Late December is a time that I always look forward to every year because I know it’s a special time that I can spend with my family and take a break from the hustle and bustle of ATL. I can’t believe how fast Christmas break came and disappeared within the blink of an eye. I had an action-packed break that included a wonderful Christmas with my family, a cruise to the Bahamas with the Wilsons and New Year’s Eve at the Charleston Aquarium.

Christmas Break

I was fortunate enough to head back to Greenville a few days before Christmas so that I could shop with my mom and sister and spend quality time with my family.  It was a nice time to lay in our cozy family room by the fire and just relax.  My family seems to get really sentimental around the holidays and this year was no exception. The talks, laughs and tears that we shared over a five-day period are ones that I’ll remember forever.

Cruise

I’d never been on a cruise before, so when Robert invited me to join his family on a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas, I didn’t know what to expect.  We took off on our trip a couple of days after Christmas from a port in Jacksonville and traveled to Nassau and Freeport on our four-day trip.  It was an awesome trip filled with bright sunshine (minus one day), dancing, meeting new people, hanging out with Robert’s family, sight-seeing, shopping, tanning, gambling, attending shoes, eating great food, submerging in freezing water, bartering with locals and, of course, drinking frozen piña coladas with umbrellas neatly placed in them. 🙂 A few of my favorite pics below:

Right when we hopped on the boat!

Right when we hopped on the boat!

The whole Wilson crew plus Derrick and me.

The whole Wilson crew plus Derrick and me.

In front of Atlantis in Nassua.

In front of Atlantis in Nassau.

On the beach in Freeport (a little chilly)!

On the beach in Freeport (a little chilly)!

Robert got a little artistic with his photography skills. :-)

Robert got a little artistic with his photography skills. 🙂

New Years Eve

We headed straight to Charleston from Jacksonville after disembarking from the cruise ship.  We arrived at my sister’s in late afternoon to get ready for our last night of 2012.  The event that we attended at the Charleston Aquarium was a soiree that is highly attended by most 20-something Charleston residents and visitors.  I was amazed at how beautiful the whole place looked.  In addition to walking around and looking at the huge fish, we ate a great meal and danced our butts off until way after the ball dropped.  I can say, hands down, that this year was my favorite and most memorable NYE thanks, in its entirety, to the people with whom I spent it. My favorite pics below:

Sam, Merr, me and Robert before the Charleston Aquarium NYE event.

Sam, Merr, me and Robert before the Charleston Aquarium NYE event.

Greenville Girls

Greenville Girls

Home for the Holidays

Throughout November, I tweeted something that I’m thankful for every day. It’s the first time that I’ve taken part in this activity, and it was an awesome way for me to take a step back and truly pinpoint the most important people, places and things in my life.  This past Thanksgiving, I was happy to be home and I’m excited to head back there tomorrow for my Christmas vacation.

There’s something so comforting about going home. I love pulling into my parents neighborhood because so many memories come rushing back as soon as I hit the first speed bump (zipping around the streets in my VW Cabrio, riding bikes up and down the river paths, playing kickball/dodgeball/rollerball in the streets, etc.).  Once I reach our cul-de-sac, I immediately look to see which seasonal flag my mom has hung and what colors she’s chosen for the pretty candles on our big front porch.  Usually, one of my parents is in the kitchen window cleaning dishes when I arrive, so they see and greet me in our garage when I park. No matter what time of day or night that I arrive, my parent’s responses are most always the same. Dad’s? “Madddyyy…. good to see you.” Mom’s? “Hey! Look how cute you look.” 🙂 I look forward to these greetings every time I head back.

Home to me means heart-to-heart talks with my family, game nights, good smells, comfy couches, warm fires, reminiscing, soundly sleeping, learning about the neighborhood gossip, MiMi’s take-out with Merr, visiting with friends, shopping, sharing the same room with my sister, pretty flowers in the kitchen, cards strewn about the mantle, relaxing, and inevitable tears when I leave.

I can’t WAIT to see my family tomorrow night! 🙂