After seeing my friend Shawn in Mobile, we headed up to Tuscaloosa. We got there a bit later than we had hoped, around I think 9pm, because travelling with a baby takes a while and also I missed an exit and then the next exit wasn't until 10 miles later.
If you asked me a few years ago if I would ever go back to Tuscaloosa after moving away, I probably would have said no. I really didn't like living there. Even though there are still things I don't like about it, and I wouldn't want to live there permanently, some of the best friends I have ever made were there. This is part of why it was so important to us to have Sadie baptized at Riverwood, our church from Tuscaloosa. There is a part of the baptismal vows directed at the congregation, where they essentially agree to help us raise Sadie (I looked for the exact text online but couldn't find it). While we don't live in Tuscaloosa anymore, I feel that the connections we made there will be lifelong and there are so many people who I hope continue to be a part of Sadie's life. Even though we are no longer attending Riverwood weekly, I can think of at least 20 people off the top of my head who would help us out at any time if we needed it. The people we met there are our family, in the truest way.
Looking goofy but beautiful in the gown my mom made
During the baptism, taken by Clay Staggs
One part of the baptism I found very special were some people who don't usually attend Riverwood who came to see it. My friend and former co-worker Michelle, who we stayed with while in Tuscaloosa, my friend and former co-worker Adam and his girlfriend Britton, and our friends Steve and Lesley Davenport, who once attended Riverwood but now live in Boston. It was so great to us that all of these people could be there. Sadie behaved really well during the baptism. Hunter and I think that she knew how cute she looked in her outfit and it made her happy.
Tim and Sadie, taken by Clay Staggs
That night, there was a little gathering for people to hang out and catch up and everything. I saw people I hadn't seen in a while, including some kids who had gotten so much bigger than the last time I saw them! I can't believe that this time next year, Sadie might be running around like they were! We also got to see our friend Lauren from Tulane, who happened to be passing through Alabama while we were there, which was really cool. Of course, a lot of people took turns holding Sadie. Many of these photos are viewable on my Instagram.
Sadie on her mat while the kids play
A few of the kids I had taught last year don't attend Riverwood, so Michelle, who is their teacher this year, contacted their parents and they came over to her house so I could see them and they could meet Sadie!
Me and the kids
We were only in Tuscaloosa for a few days, but we managed to do a lot during that time. We went to a New Year's Eve party where even more people got to meet/hold Sadie (I barely saw her the entire night!), I got to visit the tap room at the brewery I invested in, we ate Chipotle and barbeque and Buffalo Wild Wings, went to our old favorite bar... it was a really great time and it meant so much to me how many people made the effort to see and hang out with us. After Tuscaloosa, we headed up to Knoxville, and on our way through Birmingham we had lunch with our friends Maggie and Daniel, also formerly of Riverwood. We had Mexican food, because you can't get it in Germany. I really never thought I would enjoy a trip to Alabama so much!