This year Nick and I had the pleasure of spending Christmas at home in Houston with our families. While some aspects of Christmas in Houston are rinse and repeat ("it's a pastor's dream but a fire marshall's nightmare"), others are very special because they have become such a tradition over the years. In our dating years, Houston was where Nick and I would reunite after one more semester behind us, one semester closer to being together indefinitely. There was always so much to celebrate, in addition to reconnecting with family and friends.
This year was particularly special for a number of reasons. Despite the plethora of exotic places to travel to from Guam, we decided back in May that we'd spend Christmas at home. You may recall, May was the month when Nick and I both said goodbyes to grandparents of ours, and recognizing this first Christmas with an empty chair on both sides, we thought it would mean a lot to be there to fill a chair for once, especially not knowing what our whereabouts will be this time next Christmas.
Another reason it was so special was that so many family members came in town to celebrate with us. My sister flew in from San Francisco. Nick's aunts, uncles and cousins came in from Florida and New York, and his grandfather came down from New Jersey. His brother and future sister-in-law came in from Austin as well, so it was a couple of full houses. With so many people in town, my mom and dad schemed up the most genius idea. The last evening everyone was in town, we looked outside and a Hummer limo was waiting for us! All 15 of us, from age 11 to 87, piled in and rode around Houston looking at Christmas lights. It was a really neat and unexpected way to all spend time together. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the visit:
Glamming it up in the limo
This pretty much sums up everything!
The "Glowston-Toths" together again!
Christmas Eve at our house, complete with a piano-led singalong
of Christmas carols (in true Holston-Toth fashion).
My future little sister and my older sister meet!
Golf with Nick, Dad and Russ at River Ridge
(I was so grateful the sun finally came out after a week of cold and rain)
Dinner with the siblings
In addition to spending so much time with family, we also saw many of our friends from high school who either live in town or were in town for the holidays.
Reuniting with the besties Sara & Annie...
and finally getting to meet Sara's baby Savanna!
We even got to see our Guam friends Amy, Dave and Eric, who moved to Houston a year ago. They used to live on our street and we have missed them ever since they left!
A photo of the people from Houston who have been to Guam, featuring my parents, Nick's parents, and the Jennyyyy!
Pop Pop experiencing real Texas BBQ at a truck stop in Flatonia
A day trip to the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas.
My last dinner in town, spent with close friends, hosted by my parents. Thanks!
The older we get, the more fortunate Nick and I realize we are that our parents live in the same city three miles apart. We know this won't always be the case, so it's nice when we get to take advantage of seeing so many of our friends and family all at once. Such a great way to end 2011 and ring in 2012. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and happy new year as well!