my life in my words

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I Heard The Bells

There are many things I love about God, but one of those things that I’m most thankful for is that He is all about 2nd chances. This Christmas, I was given a 2nd chance to experience a solo Christmas in Seattle. Last year was supposed to be my first go-at-it, but as you may or may not know, those plans were pushed aside by a long hospital stay. Having this 2nd chance to fully participate in some old/new Christmas traditions has ignited hope, love, joy, and wonder into my heart and mind.

Living thousands of miles from home and not being able to be home for the holidays can be just as emotionally draining as being home for the holidays. For instance, I had called each of my parents on Christmas Eve to schedule Skype video chat dates with them on Christmas Day so that I could at least “see” them in some way. My goal was to unwrap my gifts in front of them so that it would seem we were in the same room, enjoying some Christmas joy. I carefully planned my events around their schedules and then on Christmas Day, each of them had a change of plans and were both unavailable for visual communication. I was SO bummed. I still kind of am. Living so far from home is tough when you can’t “see” your family.

Still, I want them to be able to see how my day went and share some of that Christmas joy with them here. So, this post is really for them, but if you’re interested in reading about how my Christmas Eve & Day went, scroll on, mah friend!

Now, before you go thinking that this long-distance Arroyo-Martinez chick has forgotten to honor family traditions, think again! I love our family traditions and was thankful that I was able to uphold them this Christmas!



I got to enjoy (and share with others) a daily sweet treat with my fun Advent calendar!


I sent out my Christmas cards with my funny photo and was so excited to get some cards from friends near and far!


Seattle really is lacking in delicious, authentic, Mexican fare, but I do know of this one carniceria that has fantastic tamales! They’re thicker than what I’m used to back home, but they are still just as tasty! As I walked out the door with my tamales, I noticed the case of Pan Dulce and it reminded me of all those Saturday mornings we would go to Mi Victoria for breakfast tacos. 🙂


I was bummed I couldn’t join y’all at Aunt Sandra’s for Christmas Eve tamales, but I made sure to enjoy from a distance. PS: If the Whole Foods in Austin sells Intelligentsia coffee, be sure to pick some up! It’s great!


This is a new tradition, adopted from my East Coast fam, the Warners—opening stockings on Christmas Eve! Oh, and obviously I had to watch one of my faves. My fave (Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer) was saved for Christmas morning. 😉


And these are all the goodies I stuffed in my stocking: Rudolph coloring book; Maxx Robots magnets, Glow-in-the-dark skull tattoos, fun socks, Luna & Cliff bars, Candy Cane prism glasses, Razors, Tony Chachere’s, coffee scoopers, trail mix, cocoa drizzled kettle corn, Bath & Body body wash, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark, and just like Mamo always puts in our goodie bags—an orange, an apple, a candy cane, and nuts! 😀

Christmas morning was extra special! I woke up early to watch Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer before heading off to Christmas Caroling. Of course, I had to enjoy some yummy breakfast beforehand, though. 😉


With breakfast being my favorite meal of the day, it’s no wonder I had a little more pep in my step while making Christmas breakfast! 


After breakfast, I headed out to the King County Juvenile Detention Center to meet up with some of my friends from Westside Church. While we were there, we sang Christmas carols to the inmates and celebrated with them as they opened their gifts. It was SO special!


Once we were done with caroling, I headed home to open gifts!


The majority of the gifts are things I bought for myself, but I did get some special gifts from others as well! My housemates gave me gifts, my friends at church gave me gifts, and I got a package from Aunt Olga, which had my exchange gift from Liz in it!


Um, I MAY have gone overboard on the gifts I got for myself this year . . . but in my defense, they were all on clearance/major sales. 😉


MY LOOT!! –> West Elm bowls from my co-worker/friend Glenda, a 200 Cal Cookbook from my housemate Kiesha, a unique painted mug and a bracelet from Glenda, clothes from Old Navy, CSI:NY + CSI: Las Vegas, Big Bang Theory ornament, 8-bit Sunglasses, Hair Chalk, POPULAR book, Salt & Pepper shakers, Christmas Vacation on DVD, The Wolverine on DVD, a keepsake Rudolph ornament, and 4 new shirts from Old Navy!


And I LOVE my sweet Wonder Woman jammies from Liz! I hope Gabriel likes the remote control car I got him!


After opening gifts and touching base with the folks, I headed over to Glenda’s and enjoyed a (way too short) time of board games + snacks with her and a couple of her kids.


Then, I headed over to Kristen’s house to enjoy a nice Christmas dinner! We had fun sharing about the gifts we got and trying out her new Rip Stick! I can’t wait to see her skate all around the town! Sadly, I had to leave early because of my allergies. 😦


When I got home, my housemate Vivian invited me to open more gifts that she got for us upstairs. We also noticed that our landlady and her hubby left us a house Christmas gift! SOOOOOO much goodies! 😀


Vivian got me Hungarian chocolates (She’s from Budapest), a hand painted/baked mug, and shared some of her Hungarian cookies with me!


As we were opening gifts/chatting upstairs, Kiesha came home and we all sat in the living room, chatting it up! A little ways into the convo, Kiesha noticed my grey skull jammies and excitedly ran to put on her blue skull jammies! We’re twinsies!!

All in all, it was a great second chance to experience Christmas in Seattle! I love it here in the winter and making it through this year just helped me to realize that I can definitely do this again! I kinda of wish my family were able to join me up here for the holidays because there are so many fun things to do here! Welp, today I’m off to Auburn with the Jollys to share Day-After-Christmas fun with Heather’s family! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and I pray you have an incredible New Year!