This is the first year since Brett and I have been together that we have not made it to Marlene's family's Christmas Eve festivities in Atmore. Since we knew ahead of time that we couldn't make it, we made plans to drive down to Gulf Shores on Friday night to see Jim, Marlene, and Alaina for a few days. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we had a great time!
One of my favorite places is down at Marlene's parents' house (MeMe and Bubba) in a little community called Shell Banks right outside of Fort Morgan. Their house is right on the bay and backs up to the Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
MeMe and Bubba have a resident heron they call Gertrude. I FINALLY got the chance to get some up-close pictures of her. She's not the most sociable gal in the world. She also had a pelican friend hanging around the boathouse with her. He was a little less camera shy so I was able to get a few more pictures of him.
I was the only one who wanted to brave the chilly wind on Saturday and go down to the beach and I am SO glad I did. I ended up with some pretty awesome photo ops while I was down there.
As much fun as we had in Gulf Shores, the absolute highlight of my Christmas was going to church with my parents and Brett on Sunday night. This is the first year that my Dad came with us to the candlelight service. It will always be one of my favorite Christmas memories! This church has always been very important to our family. My great-grandmother donated the land for the church to be built and it is the church that my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and numerous cousins all grew up going to.
Christmas morning was low-key. We had breakfast with my parents and then I got to work in the kitchen. This was the first year that Christmas dinner was on me and we also had family coming over! I was a little on the nervous side, but everything turned out better than I expected and we all had a good time.
Thankfully, all of the bad weather that came through didn't affect us. A tornado passed just a few miles away from us!
I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas!