Hi, friends! I hope everyone’s December is off to a merry (and not to stressy) start. Before I start posting all the holly jolly hoopla, I want to back up and get Thanksgiving recorded in the books because it turned out to be a special one.
After spending the last 9 Thanksgivings in Minnesota, I packed up our minivan and drove all three kids to the Chicagoland area to see my family. Joe unfortunately could not get a lot of time off work, but he graciously told us to go on without him so we wouldn’t miss the festivities, including my grandmas 90th (90th!) birthday party.
The kids and I departed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I took care in having a neatly packed and organized car with healthy snacks because I knew the orderly state of our things would deteriorate rapidly during our trip. But we started out strong! And the kids were total rockstars during the car ride. (By the end of the trip, our vehicle looked like bears had torn through it.) Here we are stopped in Wisconsin Dells.
Because sometimes you just gotta refuel with a little Dunkin’ coffee.
(^^^Ares taking a stretch from being in that car seat^^^)
The first night we were in, we stayed at my sister’s. She had make-your-own veggie pizzas and make-your-own-sundaes for the girls in addition to some art supplies for them to use. Her Christmas tree was up and she had delicious eats for us to share as well. It felt great to crash land in such a hospitable place!
On day 2 of our trip, my mom hosted a huge Thanksgiving party at her house. I got to see my cousins, meet my cousin Brittany’s new baby, pass around Ares, pass around all of the delicious food, and finally play Bunco for the first time in my life.
Cece had eagerly been anticipating breaking the wishbone and making a wish (her wish being that everyone could have a flying unicorn, a.k.a. an alicorn). As you can see, she got her big part of the bone and in the background is Rosie angrily storming off because losing is hard.
It was a lot of excitement for Ares, so there were definitely a couple Thanksgiving naps in order for him. I especially like the time that he fell asleep clutching a piece of celery.
(^^^ With my mama and my sister on Thanksgiving. Someone pointed out in this photos that Robbyn and I are dressed up and my mom is, of course, wearing her Walking Dead t-shirt. I still love it. I also think mom could pass as our blonde sister in this photo!)
We spent Thursday night and Friday night at my mom’s. The girls adore Grandma Pat and it was a treat for all of us to hang out with her. Ares thinks she is pretty wonderful too and didn’t even mind being put in Packers attire. Rosie and Cece especially loved when I went out for a ladies night on Friday at Robbyn’s so they had an evening with Grandma Pat (and my Aunt Gina) by themselves. They played games, had snacks, and watched The Karate Kid. I’m pretty sure I heard them say “BYE, FELICIA!!!” as they anxiously waved me out of the house.
The above mentioned ladies night was on Friday and it was fantastic! My sister is a top-notch host and provided us with copious amounts of delicious food including a carefully curated charcuterie board and scrumptious holiday sangria. I’d like to do this every Friday night.
Thanks again, Robbyn! You always make it so hard to leave!!
On Saturday, I did something I think I’ve never done on Thanksgiving weekend- go from feast mode to beast mode! I joined my mom for one of her personal training session and I had a great time boxing, swinging kettlebells, and really just getting to spend time together in a different way. After indulging on Thanksgiving food (and Thanksgiving leftovers), it felt great to get the blood flowing and get a workout in over our travels!
We spent Saturday night and Sunday night at Sarah’s GORGEOUS new house! I really don’t know how I don’t have more photos of our stay there but I think that’s because we were so busy chatting! The kids played super well together and I enjoyed the heck out of myself just hanging out at the kitchen island having wine and catching up!
On Sunday night, we had our final big outing as we traveled to Chinatown to celebrate my Grandma’s 90th birthday!
The girls impressed me by trying so many of the different foods at the restaurant. Here Rosie is pictured eating duck and holding two drumsticks in her hand. Good gracious, I love her style. Again, many thanks to my brother, sister, and cousins who helped me manage my three kiddos in the restaurant!
By the end of the trip my body and face were puffy from constantly staying up late and eating all of the food that comes with celebrating. Still, I regret nothing! My heart was as full as my belly. Lots of people thought it was quite a feat to drive to Chicago by myself with the kids, but honestly, the trip was really made possible by the abundance of help and love I got from my family members. Every little bit of assistance– making a plate of food for one of the kids, helping me load the car, setting up the pack-n-play, or holding the baby so I could eat–made a world of a difference for me. I’m thrilled I got to see so many friends and family. And for as much location hopping as we did, the kids were awesome.
However, by the time we actually made it back to our own home, the week really had caught up to me. I basically collapsed from the exhaustion and was glad I had Joe to help with the kiddos once more (and I kid you not… I think it took me about three whole days to clean out our car once we were home.) Joe also had my favorite chocolates, a beautiful orchid, tacos, and Joanna Gaines waiting for me when we arrived home.
(Hands off ladies, he’s mine. Haha just kidding. Not really ; )
At the risk of sounding cliché or trite, this trip made me feel tremendously thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life. For as much work as traveling with kids can be, my heart was so happy from spending time with my mom, my friends, siblings, and extended family. I felt equally thankful and grateful for Joe who was not with us during the trip, but who supports and loves on us everyday.
I’m trying to hold on to these warm fuzzy feelings and remember what really matters as we approach Christmas (which can sometimes feel crazy and stressful when trying to buy all the things and do all the activities).
Even though it was a couple weeks ago now, I hope your own Thanksgiving was wonderful and that you are enjoying the beginning of December. Thank you for reading!!