Super-Mom Vs. The Holidays

It’s been days since I’ve shared a post, a week I imagine. Thanksgiving has kept me very busy, the weekend before was spent shopping for it, the week of was spent crocheting turkey hat and Santa hats. (Because I wanted to be ahead)
Thanksgiving was spent with family out of town. We had to rise early, then get every kid bathed and dressed. Then I had to run my mental check list, to ensure I have everything a child could possibly need for a two hour road trip.  This is followed by loading them and our huge bag of crap, up. Then counting twice to be sure we have all the children and all the said, crap. This is when hubby start hooking up the DVD player which is supposed to take about ten minutes. He’s still fiddling with it after I’ve gotten the children in and now, we’re waiting on him.
After he’s finished and we’re assured that we have all the children, the journey continues two street over. This is the point where I remember that I have forgotten the turkey hats, I worked so hard on. Need-less to say, we turned around to grab them. I had run that list in my head over and over again, made four extra trips back inside for something I’d forgotten but still we had to turn back. Though I must admit that the saddest trip back in was for my own shoes. Yes, I actually walked out to suddenly find that my feet were freezing!  (Worse than that, this wasn’t the first time.)
Yet another planned trip, where mom managed to forget something. However, the fact that we were only two streets over when I realized, made for a fast back-track. We were quickly back in the drive-way, where I then leapt from the truck like a kangaroo on the run. (Or hop?, I’m not sure.)
Two minutes flat: I’m in the house, out the door and back in the truck. Now, only thirteen minutes behind our estimated time line. I’m saying to myself, “If my husband had better estimated the time it’d take to get the DVD players going for the trip. Then, we would have left on time, even with my extra trip back to the house.”  Oh well I’ll plan for it better next time, after six years of marriage I know I should add an extra 10- 20 minutes on any estimation he makes. (I will always find a way to blame him. If it wasn’t the DVD player, it’d be the fact that I’m the one who had to do EVERYTHING!! Think of all shit, put all the shit together, remember the shit, take care of getting the kids ready and loaded. I mean, I have right to be a little forgetful, every once in a while.)
Being on the road didn’t last very long, as we had to stop for two quick fill ups. One for our truck and one for the children. I forgot to mention that the kids hadn’t gotten a chance to have breakfast before yet. (I’ll explain that later)  Though the gas station is only about a mile away, I’m positive I heard at least 20 “Mama, I’m hungry”s between the house and the store.
I told my husband to grab two of the best drinks for car riding (spills suck) and the healthiest, they have (Sugar and soda are bad). He was also instructed to get two of the healthiest, car friendly, breakfast items he could find……and I wouldn’t mind a chocolate milk as well.  My husband’s response “ok, I’ll get two of the best breakfasts they have to offer and a chocolate milk.” 
He then returns with two mini cans of Pringles ( one sour cream and onion, one classic) ,two mini sports bottles ( something called a tummy yummy) and a coke.  You could say I was more than a bit confused. Either we have two huge different views of what good is or we lost something in translation. Maybe he was just being lazy, I’m unsure.   (*mental note* “Mom goes in next time” Epic breakfast fail, I’ll call it ok for a holiday and brush it off. I’m hard on them about bad food most the year, I’ll let it slide today. We’ll call it picking my battles. We all need a little give and take, right?)
Fueled up and filled up, with The Muppets (an old one, not the new crap) playing on the DVD, we were off. The children are happily munching on their “breakfast” and I’m still wondering how “I’d like a chocolate milk” turned into coke. Before long, we are at the end of town and really just beginning our long trip, we are now 2 hours out from our target location and feeling like we’re running at least 30 minutes to an hour behind.
The trip over is made in good time, with no stops. That’s success with three small kids. Though, there was a 20 minute ride of on again/off again screaming from the middle child. Simply, because he’s a two year old and can’t sit still. For him, being strapped down in a car-seat is a very slow and painful death.   Of course, the horrible breakfast, lack of play time before hitting the road and his super-man energy powers, were bound to win in his inner battle of good and quiet v.s. aggravating and loud. Either way, we still achieved a fast and efficient trip over to the families.
30 minutes into the visit and it’s now noon which is time to eat. The kids sit down like little angels at the kids table and wait like well-mannered children as we made their plates. Between my husband and myself we had them eating in less than 5 minutes. (Could have been 3 minutes, had we been first inline. We are plate making masters and have a team work system down for this kind of thing. Fast as lighting and awesome avoidance of melt downs, are two of our specialties. After all, we’re trying to run a smooth house hold, happy people and what not.)
After two trips to the kitchen, a lot of overly full bellies, some visiting time and the kids running wild amongst the land, six hours had passed. By now, no one could eat another bite and the kids were beginning to wear down. On that note, we began our two hour journey back home. Thankfully the trip was very easy this time, we simply popped the movie ‘Tangled’ in for the kids, set them up with a drink and off we were off, yet again. The baby and our middle son fell asleep for most of the ride, which is nothing but a blessing.
Our daughter played word phonics on the iPad which kept her busy and learning for most of the trip.  I must say that I’m against all this high end technology crap, babysitting our children BUT for a long trip, they can be a real sanity saver.
We made it back home at fairly decent hour but made an unexpected stop to see some good friends and ended up spending two hours there. After dragging everyone off from their place, we arrived at home only an hour passed our planned time. It was now about ten and as we pulled into the drive-way as a new battle begun. With rested heads from their naps and an energy stop, they were all asking the same question “What’s for dinner?” Here I had thought the ton of food they spent all day eating was enough….guess I was wrong. *sigh* I had no plans to cook dinner, especially so late, but such is the life of a mom.
We parked the car and as they repeated the question, my husband and I sighed, then laughed as we got out to face the battle of unloading everything. Hubby and I were just happy to be getting out of the car, for good that night. By normal routine we got each child and bag into the house as we would any other time. The smaller of the two oldest were changed for the night and the baby was put to bed. Then I began to work on a dinner solution for my older two and this where the missing part of the story comes into play.
Why didn’t they have breakfast at home that morning?
On this particular year, I decided I just had to make a little thanksgiving dinner for us. It was something my mom did almost every year. We always had to have dinner at my grans house and I normally had to go to my dad’s as well, so my mom would always make a little dinner for us all to have on our own. You know, so we’d have our little traditions and crap like that.
Anyhow, this made me want to do it. By Thanksgiving my cabinets and fridge were stuffed with an array of Thanksgiving what-nots. At this point, I had actually run out of regular food and hadn’t even realized. It was as if I had only planned up to thanksgiving and everything after that was going to be left-over turkey surprise.
I had planned small meals that were easy and wouldn’t leave left-over’s, so I would be able to thaw my turkey and ham out. I’m sure anyone with a smallish fridge, who has planned a Thanksgiving meal, can understand my pain.
 So when we got home thanksgiving night and they were asking for dinner, I was very thrown back. First off, I couldn’t believe they could be hungry after the day of eating. Second, I was fairly sure I didn’t have anything left-over or anything that wasn’t Thanksgiving related. Not that anyone wants to cook after a four hour drive and six hours of family time, not including the two extra hours spent on our side trip. Needless to say, I was beyond thankful on this great day of thankfulness, when I found left-over bowl pasta in the fridge. Which made me thankfully that I can never make an appropriate amount pasta and always end up with enough to feed a third world country, it’s ridiculous! Worked out this time…..except….they weren’t actually hungry, at all. Go figure.
Once the unwanted dinner is out of the way, the kids went to bed and this brought us to about eleven o’clock. Late, but finally a chance to relax a bit and catch up on a movie or two. Then it was off to bed by 1:00am and asleep by 1:30am.
The sleep never lasts long enough, I close my eyes and I could swear that seconds later, I’m suddenly being awoken by a gibbering baby and a toddler knocking on the door to the tune of non-stop “dada’s”. Of course, it isn’t seconds later and the clock read eight A.M. and though still tired, I feel thankful that they slept in. However, the repeated taps mean it’s time to for both of us to get up. Me rushing off to get the baby changed, dressed, and feed. My husband off to change our toddler and to get the older sibling their morning glass of milk. This morning thing were running smoothly and I was able to make breakfast quickly. The whole affair was over with by nine-thirty. The Kitchen was clean by ten and then it was time to tackle the “holiday kid-toy tornado”. If you’re not aware, that is the mess created during holidays/ the holiday season. It’s what happens when your too busy preparing for the holidays or trying be at everyone’s gathering and can’t be bother to stop and fool with the mess.
I admit when I saw this particular “holiday tornado”, a wave of holy crap rolled over me. If my kids were a cartoon character, they would be Taz, no doubt about it! Thankfully by eleven-thirty, we had a good bit of the mess cleaned up. Unfortunately the rest would have to wait because it was time to get the turkey out of the fridge and under cold water to be sure it’s fully thawed. It was also time to get ready and meet a few family members for lunch, as we had not been able to see them the day before and they were in from out of town for only a few days.
My family pulls through a quick lunch, with very little fuss from the kids. The baby felt the need to fuss every time he seen someone take a drink but that’s kind of his thing right now. He wants to drink everything out there but he’s only seven months and doesn’t realize he doesn’t have those skills quite yet, plus he’s a baby, so he doesn’t need it. Of course, you can’t tell him that, hence the fuss.
With a few good-byes and a short three mile trip, we were back home. Within fifteen minutes we ended up back in the car and off across town to a friends for a visit. We then spent an hour there, enjoying a little adult conversation with a little “child insight” thrown in there. After a few good laughs and an exchange of pleasantries we were back off across town, on-ward to home….once more.
We make it back around three-thirty and by four, the kids are settled with some play-doh, while our turkey cooks and a Christmas movie play in the background. By nine, we were all pigging out on our own Thanksgiving dinner of: turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, corn bread, pineapple sauce and the best mashed potatoes in the world. (Because they’re mine and I say so!!) J
 By ten o’clock, we we’re done eating and my daughter is eyeing the pie, but that would have to wait because my eye was on the mountain of dirty dishes and left-overs that filled the sink and counter tops. The dinner was great but maybe I hadn’t thought all of this threw….because now I had to clean it all. UGGGHHHHH, I had just cooked it all but I can’t to see the clutter for long.
Now seemed like a better time than any, as our son sat happily in his high chair. Playing with food his little more than eating it but he was content and that’s all I really needed. So my husband and I (mostly me) set off to cleaning the kitchen with superman power, type of speed. By ten-forty-five, the entire kitchen was cleaned, ever bit of food was put away and not one dirty dish lay in sight. I turn to head for the fridge and retrieve that yummy pie for my daughter. Only to find that she was now passed out in front of the fridge and my son, he was now passed out in his high-chair.
Therefore the kids were off to bed and snoring away just a little after eleven. I then went on to “relax”; really I just caught up on a few missed shows and worked like a machine, crocheting a dog sweater for the sister-in-law. By two-thirty A.M I had a very successful, crocheted dog sweater. It was then off to bed for us and we were soundly asleep by three A.M.
Again we face another eight-thirty A.M wake up and the morning routine is put into high speed as usual. By a little after nine we were dressed, fed and on our way out the door. We were off to Home Depot to begin our Christmas preparation, which of course meant that we needed a tree. The tree picking process can sometime take a while, due to the fact I must have the best Christmas tree there is. (I want perfection, no, I demand it!) Surprisingly, we were in-out and back at home by ten. An just a few minutes after arriving the tree was in, unwrapped and set up.
This forty-five minute trip was one of pure luck. Within Home Depot’s first row of trees was a diamond, within four minutes I had the perfect tree picked out. It was like someone had plucked it out of all the other trees, just for me. It was a good seven feet tall, very full and fat (kind of like Santa), and to top it off, there were no bare spots in sight. The employees were very helpful, they had us ringed up, loaded up, and in our truck in an impressive ten minutes. (Most of which were spent waiting for my husband to bring the truck around)
Right now it’s about eleven and I can easily say that Saturday went down pretty easily. (Like a good brandy or rum, haha) Things fell into place with as they should, the whole family helped clean and we got some much needed outside, fun-time.
We played on the slide and eventually our daughter felt it would be more fun to gather up sticks/limbs to create a huge pile. Her reasoning “I want to make a pile as big as me, so my daddy can burn it. It’ll be like a campfire and we can do marshmallows…. I like marshmallows.”
They continued to play/pile sticks with daddy while I made a little lunch. By three-thirty the whole family was fed, the kitchen cleaned up was done and everyone is happily sitting on the couch as the Florida vs. Florida state game starts. A few hours of football, a mixture of laughter over our children cheering and booing as the game went on, and it was time for dinner.
Seeing as how we made our thanksgiving dinner on Friday night it was left over thanksgiving food for the night’s dinner. After an hour of a nice sit down family dinner (we should all do this, sit down dinner are a great memory for kids to have and great time to talk) the kitchen was cleaned and the tree was fully fluffed out by now. As tradition goes, we trimmed our tree and by ten had it fully decorated, including the rest of the house. (Note to self: get more decorations for this bigger house, right now it looks like I have a Christmas corner.)
With teeth brushed and ‘Horton Hears a Who’ read, the kids were off to bed. That brings you up to date on my latest mommy battle “the holiday fight”. I realize I’ve gone on far too long for you readers but I wanted to give a real look into the busy life of the average mom. This was just a couple days’ time and within all those short hours, I was able to pull off so much. My ability to be efficient and make myself feel like a super-woman/mom is a confidence booster. In some ways it’s like a competition with myself, I set major goal and get them done.
There’s a million other things that went on in these three days; more battles against time, with kids on the go, and keeping up as a good wife, home maker and mother. In life we all face many challenges and battles, but it’s all the little moments that make it so worth it. Sure, you’re a little tired or a bit worn for wear with all the extra travel and work that it takes to run a smooth holiday, but the hardy laughs you share with family, the cackles of happy children, and the thanks you given/received, makes it all worth it. Happy thanksgiving to all my readers! (I know I’m a little late, but is it really ever too late to give a little thanks?)

I hope everyone’s holidays were filled with joy, good food and lots of fun. Don’t let the stress of the holidays get to you, we can always strive for perfect but we have to be ok with settling for our best. I had many, many moments where I hung my head and silently said fail to myself. But I would have to say through all my little fails, I pulled off one amazing thanksgiving and a wonderful start to Christmas. This year the scores – holiday : 0 , super mom : 1.  *oh yeah* 
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