A five a.m. start of this family of four's first eight-hour car ride. A caravan complete with mothers, mother-in-laws, sister in laws and a four year old who met his average quota of 437 questions per day in the first 90 minutes. iPad games, snacks galore, Christmas tunes, frequent stops and a lot of laughs.
Arrival in time for a delicious meal with delightful people. A family more gracious, kind, fun, engaging and inclusive than one could even wish for. Full bellies and full hearts.
A killer hotel suite, but wee ones up all evening. One hopped up on steroids making him more like the incredibly mean hulk than the sensitive pre-schooler that likes to love. The other starting to get "the illness" and crying for hours on end until Daddy tucked him the car around 1 a.m. and took him to the Mall of America. Apparently Black Friday shopping is the cure to tears. Marked in book that husband actually did the event. At 3 a.m. With an infant.
Actual Black Friday outing with incredible shopping karma, scoring the perfect boots, splurging on a mother's ring and crossing off half of my holiday shopping list. Plus a day of fun with three really fun gals who understand shopping strategy on a day like that day.
An urgent care visit for pink eye and a nearly cracked open skull on the kid front. Because what is a family trip without a little drama?
Beautiful crisp weather that meant a trip to Como Zoo and botanical gardens, catching sights and sounds of nature that was peaceful and enjoyable.
More eating: chips, guacomole and margaritas. Enough said.
Family bonding. Awe of the amazing, grown people the cousins have become. Gratitude for a large family with so many warm, interesting and supportive people that are a part of it.
A restful, relaxed breakfast with grandparents in remarkable health in their late 80s, a chance to visit with those we never get enough time with and a belly full of eggs and bacon before getting on the road.
Tearful good-byes and appreciation for all the magic each memory held during the visit. "Mommy - I don't want to leave here. Ever, never."Agreed.
Long journey home, complete with an allergic reaction. To what, we don't know. Benadryl, quiet rides, discussion of where the Elf on the Shelf will be when we return. Reflection on the beauty of the weekend.
A late return home to a wreck of a house. The comfort and warmth of a Sleep Number, twin and crib bed to each his own. Anticipation of the holidays to come.
Hearts full. Minds full. Souls full. All from a Thanksgiving that was eventful.