Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful that Thanksgiving is Over

Oh.my.word.

Did I happen to mention here our plans to take the kids on a whirlwind Thanksgiving tour to see Scott's family that involved various multi-hour drives across state lines?

I didn’t? Hmmm....apparently I was still in denial about it.

Well, we survived. But just barely.

Phase I: Nebraska to Illinois (8 hours)

I stayed up until 5:30 a.m. the night before we left writing an article for work. So needless to say, I was tired when we started off Wednesday morning on the long trek from Nebraska to the teeny tiny Illinois town where Scott’s dad lives. I knew things were off to a bad start when we fired up the minivan's DVD player before we'd even left our subdivision. Luckily (unluckily?), we were armed with a whole host of kid movies to keep everybody entertained...the most annoying of which was a $4.99 Care Bears movie we’d recently picked up at Target, which of course quickly became the kids' favorite. It's really kind of a toss-up on which is worse....(i) listening to three kids hollering at the top of their lungs because they want to watch a Care Bears movie; or (ii) listening to the squeaky voices of the miscellaneous Care Bears singing songs about caring and wishing and rainbow syrup while you drive through back-woods Missouri.

Eight hours of Care Bear DVD watching later (with a quick stop for dinner at the Pizza Hut buffet in Hannibal, MO), we pulled into Scott's dad's driveway. Phew...we had survived. Little did I know that my relief would be short-lived.

Phase II: Tiny Town in Illinois (2 days)

Oh lordy. Ashley was HORRENDOUS. Granted, she did pretty well for being cooped up in the car for so long, but it was like once we let her loose she could not settle down. She ended up throwing two major tantrums the two nights we were there, and got so upset during both of them that she threw up. She has never done that before, and to be frank, I was kind of at a loss on how to deal with her. Both nights I ended up giving her a bath, and that seemed to calm her down somewhat, but still...it was rough. The boys did okay, though.

My favorite story from this part of the trip is kinda random, so bear with me... There was this sweet little cat hanging around Scott's dad's house on Thanksgiving Day. This poor thing wanted to be loved (fed?) sooooo badly....but all 3 of my kids are deathly afraid of dogs and cats, so we kept trying to shoo it away while we played outside. Anyway, it stuck around all afternoon, then hung out at the door during dinner, and then finally it moved on. Or so we thought.

That night, we got all the kids packed back up in the mini-van and started to head back to the motel (with me driving, since Scotty had had a few cocktails), when all of a sudden I hear Scott say "Megan, did you decide to adopt the cat?" I replied, "Noooooo...." And then Scott said, "Well, then why is it sitting in my lap?" I look over and see that the freaking cat has stowed away and is now sitting in Scott's lap just purring away! How random can you get? There we are driving down a deserted highway, pitch black outside, and poof...there's a kitten on my husband's lap! I swear, things like that only happen to us.

So anyhoo, we drove the kitty back to his dad's in case he had a little kitty family in the area, but I felt really guilty abandoning him since he seemed to have chosen us as his adoptive family. Poor little kitty. Oh well, he had no idea what he would be getting himself into if we had taken him home.

Phase III: Illinois to Saint Louis (1.5 hours)

So Friday morning, we headed on down to St. Louis (about an hour away from his dad's) to meet up with Scott's mom's extended family. This part of the drive was easy-peasy…everybody napped but Aidan, and he was my favorite during the whole trip so that worked out well. Trust me, Aidan would have been your favorite too. Ashley already had one strike against her based on her behavior at Scott’s dad’s house, and Owen was about to add strike after strike as you’ll soon see.

Phase IV: Saint Louis (About 3 hours)

Oh, Owen. My shy little boy. He used to do this wonderful thing called the “turtle”. I think I actually discussed it here. It involved him going into a fear-induced coma the minute anyone picked him up and tried to love him. I adored the turtle. Not only did he look cute, but it sure made for an easy get-away any time mommy needed a break.

Unfortunately, the “turtle” has now been replaced with the “alligator”. If I try to hand him over to someone now, there will be lots of thrashing, arm whipping, gruntal noise-making, and although it hasn’t happened yet, I wouldn’t put it past him to start biting. The problem with the alligator, is that Owen not only gets pissed at the person he was handed to…but also gets even more pissed at me for trying to hand him over. And Owen is one little dude that you don’t want to piss off.

The alligator was in full force in Saint Louis…which is really a bummer when all I wanted to do was have a slice of pizza and chat with Scott’s relatives. So we all piled back in the mini-van for the 3 hour drive down to the teeny tiny Missouri town where Scott’s mom and stepdad live.

Phase V: Saint Louis to Tiny Town in Missouri (3 hours)

Surprisingly, this part of the trip was not so bad. The kids were all relatively well-behaved. My favorite part was when we stopped at a Love’s gas station/truck stop, and Ashley was all “Mommy, I want to go to the heart store!! I love the heart store!” Leave it to Ashley to rename a truck-stop “The Heart Store”.

Phase VI: Tiny Town in Missouri (2 days)

Aye yi yi. Ashley was on pretty good behavior while we were there, but the twins….ugh. Apparently, by that time they had HAD IT with traveling and hanging with relatives and decided that no one besides mommy could look at, speak to or touch them for the rest of the weekend. Aidan was better than Owen, but still…both of them gave us a run for our money.

However, the boys took a really good nap Saturday afternoon, which meant that I got a good nap as well, and what more can you ask for on a Thanksgiving weekend?

Phase VII: Missouri to Nebraska (8 hours)

The drive home on Sunday was so-so....it was a little snowy and very tiring, and the kids completely melted down for the last 1.5 hours in the car (even the Care Bears couldn't help), but at least we made it home in one piece.

Hey, look at that! I recapped Thanksgiving before Christmas arrived. Yay me! :-)

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