Monday, December 8, 2014

IAH to HSV to IAH to LA to UA vs AU

The equation in the title is how I spent the last week of Thanksgiving holiday.  It’s been a whirlwind tour of the greater southeast and sleep has been deeply sacrificed for the sake of family and football but all was worth it.  I’ll sleep tomorrow. (aka: tomorrow never comes)
The kids and I flew last Wednesday to Alabama to spend a few days and meet my new nephew. He was a month old and I hadn't seen him yet!  We had a direct flight into Huntsville Alabama and Dad met us there.   They have a (super nice!) new car but it lacks the third row so when I pile in with my crew, it’s at capacity with just the driver.  With 3 kids in tow, traveling light is a thing of the past. Let’s be honest, I’ve never known much about traveling light to begin with!  We spent the next few days taking over moms house and destroying it.  Me and my 3 kids, including 2 unruly boys and my crawling infant and throw in my sisters newborn and her high maintenance diva (my niece Allie Gray!) and it was…FUN!  Even the sleeping arrangements were a logistical nightmare because while the boys have gotten great at sleeping anywhere, infants and toddlers require their own sleeping space and newborns wake up several times a night.  Nine people in a 3 bedroom house can get a little crowded!  It was so fun to have all the cousins together.  They boys adore Allie Gray and baby Wyatt was a cute little thing.  Lillian just hung around on someone’s hip with her tongue stuck out!  She is the happiest baby!  We went to the nature trail, had a shower for baby Wyatt and Tracie and I dropped the kids every chance we got and went shopping.  We are really great at shopping together!   

On Sunday we had lofty plans!  We took the whole motley crew to Nashville because we got tickets to see The Radio City Rockettes at the Grand Ole Opry!  We have been before but this would  be dad and the boys first time to go!   It took 3 cars to drive us there (Miss Marie was with us also!) and it was also Christmas season at the largest Mall in Nashville.  It was pretty hectic and it was raining to boot!  Mom would be sitting this one out and she was tasked with babysitter extraordinaire!  She kept baby Wyatt (4 weeks), Lady Lillian (9 months) and Allie Gray (2) while we went to the show.   She “borrowed” a hotel room from a friend that was staying at the Opryland Hotel and we got back to her just before she went crazy!  Not many Nana’s could have handled that kind of chaos in a foreign place but she rocked it!  We took the quick tour of the Opryland Hotel and soon realized it’s impossible to move around with that many people in tow!  We shut it down and headed home for a late arrival!  It was really fun, and yes, probably crazy! 

On Monday, we planned or Christmas Card photos to be taken in the afternoon.  We started getting the kids ready and somehow time got away from us and we left an hour later than we should have.  The lighting is crucial to photos so we were rushed to get to our perfect picture spot.  We loaded up the props, the kids and hit the high road.  Mom may have used her speedy new vehicle to pass a car or two along the way!  We got to the spot and parked seconds before a train comes through in the back yard of our spot.  It’s loud horn scares poor Lillian to death!   She cries and has to be coddled.  I then have to spend time threatening the boys with their blow pop (the reward) to do as we ask in positioning.  Only 5 photos have been snapped in succession when Jackson proclaims “she smells funny!?”  Yep, you guessed it.  Lillian has a dirty diaper of the WORST kind.  It’s already escaped her diaper and soaked her ruffle leggings.  We go to the car only to discover we failed to bring a diaper in our rush out the door!  We have to get creative and use tissue to clean her up and  used a Walmart bag as a makeshift diaper apparatus to protect the car seat while we make a mad dash back home.  Needless to say, we assumed this photo session was  a BUST and planned to try again the next morning. 

Fast forward to the next morning and I drag all the kids back out and quickly realize that the boys are not as willing to participate in photos round 2.  Its also COLD so Lillian isn’t happy to begin with.  I make threats and blow horns and carry on in an attempt to distract everyone and make her smile.  Photographing 3 kids is NO JOKE!  It’s a wonder the police weren’t called.  We torture everyone for a short time longer.  Forcing the boys to smile and me dropping Lillian in the middle of them only to have her loose it when her feet touch down.  We all leave cold and tired.

Tuesday was our family Thanksgiving and the last time I will see them all this year.  We did what most families do at holidays (minus the Turkey and stuffing).  We went with BBQ this year and you won’t hear me complaining! 
Wednesday was our return trip to Houston.  Lillian was less than perfect on this flight.  She has a cold and I think it caused the pressure to build in her ears.  She cried starting about halfway through the 1.5 hour flight.  I was sitting in the two seats right in front of the boys at the VERY back of the plane.  I was struggling with her trying everything in my power to satisfy her and the boys were acting up a little.  They have a way of getting louder and louder just to test the limits.  At some point they were aggravating each other and got too loud and I turned around and firmly told them to “SHUT UP!”  No, it wasn’t my proudest parenting moment but sometimes, when your two boys are too loud on an airplane you just do what you gotta do.  I got to the point and it worked (for about 5 minutes).  Soon after that, the nice lady from in front of me came and sat beside me.  She asked if there was any way she could help me with Lillian.  I was happy to give her a go at it and the presence of a stranger did distract her for a few moments.  As we continued to talk she expressed her condolences about how it’s tough to travel alone with kids.  I told her, no kidding!  I’ve got those two back there too.  She seemed surprised and laughed and said “Oh, so who’s back there with them?”  I chuckled and said “nobody, that’s why I had to tell them to shut up a minute ago!”  She then told me she heard that and she just assumed I was talking to the baby!!    GREAAAT!  Now I’m the mom with loud kids on the plane AND I tell my baby to shut up!  I was ever so grateful to land deep in the heart of Texas! 

We were picked up and had to immediately go home and repack.  We were heading to New Iberia, LA that same night!  Going on week 2 of traveling with kids, I had to repack the things the kids needed, drop off the dog at the boarders and prep the house for another 4 days away.  We knew it would be late but we hit the road to Louisiana and arrived at the Ramada Inn just before midnight.  Thanksgiving was by far the most peaceful and restful day we had over the holiday.  We ate and sat and ate again.  It was perfect weather on the LA bayou where Jason’s parents just bought a house.  The boys loved fishing and tossing things into the bayou water.  On Friday, Jason and I headed to Alabama.  We were gifted with tickets to the Iron Bowl game by his Aunt and Uncle.  We tried to think of reasons and excuses not to go.  It wasn’t our smartest adult decision but neither of us could find it in us to turn those tickets down.  So what if it meant a 10+ hour drive on Sunday before heading back into work, THIS GAME is worth it.  Saturday is game day and while we didn’t have to leave early we had another couple of hours drive before we get to Tuscaloosa.  The game was a nail bitter as usual.  You can never ever tell who may or may not win that game.  It could (and HAS) come down to the last second!  Hahah.  Yall, that joke will never EVER get old!  It wasn’t the outcome I had wanted but Jason was happy and I was just glad to see Auburn show up!  At least we got home early.  As in 2am early.  We had less than 5 hours to sleep.

Sunday started the reverse marathon.  We left Montgomery at 8am headed for Birmingham with a quick stop.  We passed Tuscaloosa before most of the folks that went to the game had slept off their hangover.  We spent ALL day trudging through Mississippi and just after sun down we got back to the kids. I had never left Lillian and I had missed her BAD!  She was just happy to be as usual and stuck her tounge out the whole time.  We made haste getting out of LA and hit the long road back to Houston. We arrived home just before midnight and happily declared no more travel this year!  It took me a week just to recover enough to write the blog! 

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