Russell, Eli, Max, and I are officially residents of the great state of Texas. Our three-day adventure driving from DC to Texas concluded yesterday afternoon. And we were greeted by lots of open space for the doggies to run and 30 Williamses who gathered for the first night of gift exchanging. It was a wonderful greeting for our new life.

All night, everyone kept asking me if I had a large family and was used to this kind of gathering. Maybe they could see in my eyes that the answer was a resounding no.

Both sides of my family are fairly large – but the dynamics are so different. Very calm, usually pretty quiet. We gather for dinner, sit around afterwards and talk a bit, and head back to our respective parts of the state.

But the Williamses. Conversation is going on everywhere (most often about farming or politics), with a heavy dose of laughter. Kids are running through the house, playing, asking to open presents, chasing dogs. Dogs are everywhere you look, begging for food, trying to find someone to pet them, and running away from kids. And Russell and I passed out after our long trip long before everyone left to go home.

And we went to sleep thankful for how blessed we are. And after joyfully running and playing for seven hours straight, so did our dogs.

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