Ashley and I (Jeff) celebrated our “family” Christmas together on the eve of Christmas eve before driving to Alabama the next day. That night before traveling to see my family, we exchanged presents. Here are some of the highlights with photos:

Ash, as usual, gave me some of the most thoughtful gifts you can imagine: a Led Zeppelin coffee table book, a guitar picture that she herself painted, Flight of the Conchords DVD, and concert tickets to the last Copeland show (with Deas Vail, one of our new favorite bands).

And…

I surprised her with a DSLR camera, something she had been talking about for over a year. It’s been a dream of hers for awhile to get into more professional photography, and I told her, “It’s time to do this.” (I asked for a business plan no longer than five minutes after I gave her the gift).

Ashley and Her New Canon CameraCopeland Tickets
We spent the rest of the night playing with her new Canon and eating chocolate. On Christmas Eve, Ashley worked a half-day, we packed our suitcase, and we drove down to Florence, Alabama to celebrate the holiday with my family.

Christmas morning, we woke up to the Goins family tradition of coffee cake, sausage biscuits (a specialty my mom makes), and, of course, presents. We gave a magic set to my seven year-old brother, Patrick, and he loved it. He even put on a show for us where he made a rabbit disappear.

    

We spent the rest of the day, watching movies with my sisters and parents. We even reminisced over A Christmas Story (which, ironically, I got for my mom, and she got for me), all chiming in with the various characters: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

We ate Christmas dinner with my family and then headed back to Nashville that night. The next day, we made the long trek to Illinois to see Ashley’s family. We spent the next five days there, which were filled with more presents, too much amazing food, Alvin and the Chipmunks, sledding, board games (FYI: Star Wars Minis takes at least five hours to play), and just some all-around good times together.

Sledding in Illinois

We had intended to leave that Wednesday, but since we were in the Great White North, we got snowed in (meaning the roads were kind of hazardous), so we held out until Thursday morning to leave. We made a detour to St. Louis, stopping by the Urbana Conference, where we got to visit with some of my coworkers as well as some old friends.

Ashley Goins sledding in Illinois   

We arrived back in Nashville on New Year’s Eve and drove directly to the movie theater (we had a couple of free tickets that needed to be used before 2010), where we ran into four friends. We ended up watching Sherlock Holmes and all rang in the New Year together later that night.

New Year’s Day was spent cleaning and preparing for our party the following Saturday, where we had our whole Sunday school class over for food, games, and celebration.

We bid adieu to 2009, which was a great year, and look forward to an even better 2010!

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