As soon as me and the big kids made it to Baton Rouge, we had just enough time to visit with MaMaw, hug her neck, change our clothes and then head out for our semi-annual Christmas dinner with my dad's siblings. When I was little, this dinner took place at Grandmother's house. Uncle Mark and Grandmother cooked tons of food that always managed to be eaten, the grown ups shared laughs while the kids made giant messes and we crammed our extra-large family into her house.
It was a Christmas miracle that we fit in that house, but it remains one of my most precious memories. I can still hear the creaks in her floors, walk the floor plan of our house, and smell all of magic that was coming from her kitchen.
Now we all cram ourselves into a restaurant and I almost feel sorry for the people that sit next to and around us but like my cousin, Merritt says, "they get dinner AND a show."
Sonya and Jody being there made it extra special - Jody hadn't seen some of our family in 15 years - that's just crazy talk. Sonya and I couldn't decide what to order, so we ultimately decided to basically try one of everything. So glad she shares food!
The best part of this dinner is always catching up with everyone that we don't get to see as much as we'd like. My sweet cousin Ashley had a baby last November at 28 weeks pregnant - and we got to finally meet the little miracle babe! (I couldn't keep up with who was passing him around!)
The girl cousins - we were missing Lindsay...
When I think of this family of mine - this is what I see. Breaking bread, sharing laughs, making memories. No matter where we are - at my godparents, Grandmother's or aunts and uncles homes... this is us. Lots of food, lots of loud, lots of love.
And perhaps some beer, too.
It's really weird for even me to see us all grown up - and I only got to visit every few months. But there really is just something about family that connects you - the pieces of those tiny memories create such a giant part of who we are.
And I kind of like watching us morph into this crew...
I'm already looking forward to the next time we are all together, making a scene, ordering too much food, drinking too much wine and laughing the entire time.