I am only assuming that nobody is really checking up, but if you are, or will be in the next few days, know that I hope you have (or had) the merriest of Christmases this year.
There's no better time than the holidays to just feel tremendously grateful for all of the many blessings of which we partake. This week has been so fun seeing friends and family, shopping for Christmas presents, and just killing time in general.
Last night I got to play Wednesday night soccer as has been going on for the last 3 or 4 years, and I can't think of anything I love more than to play with my friends and just have that time with the guys, playing sports and just making stupid jokes. I've been staying with Dave, and it was a chilly night for California, and when we walked into his apartment, I honestly felt just so grateful to be able to walk into a warm home. My first thought upon entering was reflecting on how sad it is that not everyone has that available to them. It's a little corny, I know, but still, that's reality and I'm grateful that mine allows me to have a warm bed and reside with people that I care so much about.
My brother has been hounding me about playing soccer with my niece when I got back here so this morning I went out with her to the park, and it was honestly one of the highlights of my last several months. She's 8 years old now, and just so chatty. She managed to beat me in two of the three games we played, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to take her down next time around. My favorite, though, might have been the walk to and from the park, and just asking her about her friends and school and everything under the sun. Her mom told her that if she scored a goal in her next game that she would get a pet hamster. I asked her what she should name her hamster when she got one, and she exclaimed, "I don't know! Squiggles?" I just thought it was the most darling little kid response I could have gotten to that question.
Every time I come back I'm always surprised at how much fun it is to be around the kids here. I even had a dream about seeing Mason last Saturday before coming out here, and that's not something that ever really happens to me. Doug's boys are so much fun to hang around. Cameron and I played Xbox after playing soccer today. It's just awesome, awesome stuff.
Anyway, I think I'm becoming an adult. Christmas time has evolved from being about presents and much more about people. I'm so grateful for the gospel, for the Savior, and for my knowledge of all of these things. I have the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.
(Don't get me wrong, I still love presents, so don't hold out.)