We did one big long trip around the holidays this year. Well we did for Christmas anyway. We usually spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s family at our house and we travel over eight hours one way to see my family for Christmas. Thanksgiving is somewhat easy since it is at our house. My mother-in-law does most of the cooking. We pitch in a few sides and what not. The hard part is keeping the twins to their schedule. Then there is the excitement of having so many people over in our house which contributes to the schedule problems. There tends to be a few melt downs even with the older cousins sometimes.
When Christmas rolls around we usually travel to see my aunt and her family first. I mentioned already that we lost my aunt this past Labor Day here. We went back and forth as to whether we should go or should skip it. My mom didn’t think we should go because she didn’t want us to tire out my uncle’s siblings. His brother was recovering from a stroke and well there were other reasons. In the end, after discussing with several family members, we skipped it. One of my cousins decided to skip it too. She went for Thanksgiving but skipped the Christmas trip. It made our trip shorter, but it was still sad and a little depressing.
We started our trip visiting Branson with my in-laws the week before Christmas. We saw some of the sights at Silver Dollar City and stayed in town for a day or two. We even went swimming in the indoor pool before we checked out where we were staying. The kids LOVED that!
We then made our way to Fayetteville to make a quick stop before making the long trek to see my family in Southeast Arkansas. It was supposed to be a quick stop, but there was a ball game that my husband did not want to miss the next day. So we stayed one more night there. I went running that morning while my husband watched the game. My in-laws live at a dead end road with a nasty hill. It was a good workout and nice to get some exercise and let some holiday stress out. We saw the Christmas lights downtown while we were there. They had all kinds of holiday side attractions as well. My mother-in-law and father-in-law paid for the twins to ride ponies. They LOVED that too.
When we did get to my home town, we didn’t see my parents much. They get tired and nap during the day and they do not like to drive at night. My dad uses a walker and my mom has bad back problems. We stayed with a cousin instead of my grandmother this year. My mom didn’t want us to tire out my grandmother. My cousin’s house have these steep steps that my parents couldn’t make and my grandmother was already exhausted from all the holiday company she had received earlier in the week. We can’t go to my parents house because . . . well let’s just say their house isn’t child proof. There was only a set time in the day that we could meet my parents at my grandmother’s house. It was so frustrating to drive all that way with toddlers only to see my parents for maybe a total of three hours. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get to see them much and I’ll take every second I can get, but it is just disappointing to not get more time.
We stayed there two nights and decided to head back Christmas Eve day. I wanted to get home in time for Santa to come and visit our house and open the presents we had for the kids. We stayed in Fayetteville again to rest up before heading home. We made it in time to go to church with my in-laws. We grabbed candles and headed to a pew when I thought about where we normally are Christmas Eve. We are normally with my aunt and her family on Christmas Eve. We usually go see my parents Christmas Day and stay a few days afterwards. I couldn’t help the few tears that came down my face during service. I just kept thinking that if she were alive we would be there and I really started to miss her. I kept it together enough to make it to the car. Then I just started to bawl. My husband tends to act like I have a contagious disease when I cry like that. I tried to get it back together before we stopped to have dinner at my sister-in-law’s in-law’s house. I know my nose was probably still red and my eyes were puffy. The rest of the night was fine.
We made it home a little later than we wanted to. The kids opened our presents when we got back and played with the gift from Santa (a Frozen Karaoke machine). They fought over it and ended up having to go to bed. They were so tired from the trip. I was tired too. It took me several days of down time and no visitors before I felt even close to “normal.” I’m not sure what is in store next year. We will have to figure in more running because we will be running Goofy 2016. Maybe that will be the time we taper. I don’t I will be thinking about it for a while and will hopefully have a plan way before the next Christmas gets here. Yeah, I know: famous last words.