Friday, December 28, 2007

The Dust Tastes Nasty

Teensy and boys along with Mom and Dad have just returned "home" from West Texas. We left on Friday morning, December 21st. Getting the Spoon's ready for travel away from home is daunting and makes me want to find a dark corner, assume the fetal position and rock soothingly as I suck my thumb. We started packing on Thursday so we could leave on Friday. Had we started packing on Friday to leave on Friday we would have left Saturday morning. Just to drag you into the aneurysm inducing trauma too here's the rundown.

  • Gifts: We had to pack all of the gifts purchased for Kendra's family. This included: Poppy, Granny, Uncle D, Kendra (yes, his wife shares the same name as my wife, isn't that...special), and Uncle D's kids, Brylee, Reece, and Kendal, Grandma Greenfield, Grandma Rushing, Aunt Mimi, Uncle Randal and Aunt Janette. Having wrapped and secured those gifts it was time to dig out all of the gifts that Santa had dropped off early to our house which needed to be taken to Granny's house so our children could believe in the magic of Christmas. PLUS, oh I'm not done yet (and you are already looking for a corner aren't you?) we had to get our gifts to our children out and ready to pack.
  • Teensy: Since we were going to be gone for seven days we needed to pack two cans of formula, a case of bottled water for her cereal, drinking, and bottles, enough cereal (two boxes) for her breakfast, lunch and I just need a little tide me over snack, food, teething medicine, gas medicine, diapers, wipes, shampoo, outfits that were guaranteed to make her look just absolutely adorable because, after all this was her debut in West Texas. Clothes, Lord we packed enough clothes for her to change three times a day. Then there were the toys, blankets, pack and play for sleeping, and night night pj's. Oh yes, and a coordinating bow for every outfit, except the pj's because it really balls up the whole sleeping thing. Most of this went into her hot pink with white polka dot duffel bag that will be her luggage until she's old enough to tell us she hates it.
  • Chubbers: Chubber Chubber needed two changes of clothes per day, he could have used five changes of socks per day, but we just let him eek out on one pair per day, pj's, his special cream for eczema, special lotion, special soap, special shampoo, special spray for his beautiful curly, velvety soft hair, special comb that helps him not scream the entire time we are coming this luscious locks. Tooth brush and the toothpaste he'll use, Tylenol because his two year molars decided it would be a good time to burst through his gums, great timing molars! We of course could not forget the gucky, his special security blanket which travels with him everywhere. A pack and play for him since he sleeps in a crib still and would fall out of a traditional bed. Blankets, sheets, and a pillow so he could smell hom e as he slept. Toys, movies, and shoes. Plus jackets for windy, cold and windy, and the coldwindywhyintheworldareweoutinthiscrap jacket. This packed in a grey toned camo duffel.
  • Mister T: Titus was the least of our worries as he's the most content in most situations. He's a well seasoned traveler. When it was just the three of us we drug him all over timbuck too. He's a great traveler and a good sport when it comes to going because that's what he's been doing for his entire life. We packed pj's, clothes, play clothes, two pair of shoes, movies, games, and toys for his entertainment. He shares Emma's soap and shampoo, and of course his toothbrush and toothpaste. He usually takes along an animal but decided they could all stay home since he would be with cousins. Worked out pretty well animal free. And a pillow. This was all packed into a green and black camo duffel.
  • Snacks: This is no small feat. We filled a laundry basket and two insulated bags full of the things that our kids like to snack on. They are huge snackers and eat almost all day long. There is snack restriction from 5:00-5:30 while Mom is cooking dinner but other than that they are free to eat at anytime they wish and we make sure they have healthy snacks at their finger tips. Go-gurt, grapes, three boxes of different crackers, cheez-it's, Frosted Mini-Wheats, cookies (Mom made chocolate chip!), Sugar wafers (they aren't healthy for everyone but me loves them), Capri Sun Roaring Water, four cases of Diet Coke, Christmas snacks we made, Strawberry Newtons, and Chocolate. Nesquick for Chocolate milk in the mornings. I think I've covered everything.
  • Mom: All of her clothes fit into a hanging bag, then her toiletries bag, make up bag, and hair dryer. A pillow.
  • Me: One duffel filled with all of my clothes, shoes, house shoes, and my kit bag which had the essentials to my survival. Chief among the essentials is Claritin because there is something about West Texas my body doesn't like and I get sinus trouble every time I go so these pills are gold!

All of this fit into our van, along with us, how I did it was a Christmas miracle. We were off by 9:30 Friday morning and 1,000 feet into our journey had to turn around because Mom forgot her camera. We were on the road again by 9:50. The trip there was grueling because it took forever! 13 hours in the car with a 14 month old, 2 year old, and 5 year old is grueling. The mistake was in our choice of route. We chose to go through Oklahoma City, then Fort Worth, which is where the whole problem started. Fort Worth was a mistake. Traffic is always an issue but this particular day was among the worst traffic days in recent memory. It took us over an hour just to navigate through Fort Worth form Texas Motor Speedway to I-20 headed for Weatherford. It should have only taken us 25 minutes at least 35-40 at most. By the time we were through the Fort Worth traffic I was a fuming, angry, keyed up, road raged Daddy. If one more care had pulled into the fast outside lane and made the decision to drive slow I would have exploded! We pulled off and ate dinner to give me some time to cool down. Fort Worth was only half way and we should have already been there. We pulled into Granny's drive way at 9:40. Then we had to unload--EVERYTHING! I didn't get to bed until 11:30 that night and I was exhausted.

We haven't been to West Texas for Christmas since Titus was a baby, he's only had one Christmas at Granny's. Granny was able to have Christmas with all of her grand babies under one roof. This was all the gift she needed, but she enjoyed the things we brought her other than her grand children. Granny had not seen Teensy since she was in the NICU so needless to say she had changed a lot since she last "saw" her. Pictures just don't' do for Granny's ya know.

Kendra's family has lived in their house for over thirty years, so most of Kendra's memories are in this house. It was cool to have our kids under the same roof enjoying Christmas that their Mom enjoyed when she was their age. We made sugar cookies for Santa and used the same cookie cutters Kendra used. This kind of stuff makes me happy inside and comforts me because I'm huge on nostalgia and memories. Most of my family traditions aren't practiced at Christmas with Granny, but I don't mind being involved in their traditions and giving mine a break.

Christmas morning in my family always meant home made hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, and pigs in a blanket. After we enjoyed that we dug into the gifts. Someone was always designated "Santa" and sorted out all of the gifts. We usually opened one at a time watching the expressions on each package opened. All of our Santa gifts were wrapped under the tree in one special paper. All of the other gifts from family were wrapped in different paper. Kendra's family opens family presents on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas morning the kids walk into the living room and see all of the Santa gifts just set out. Opened, assembled, batteries installed, grouped by child. It's a pretty stark difference and not easily over come. Making sure my wife is happy, and my kiddos are happy is VERY important and takes precedence over this tradition. Personally I would like to combine the two and settle. Have family presents on Christmas Eve, but have the kids find wrapped Santa gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. I don't really push the subject, but maybe someday.

Our kiddos had a great time playing with their cousins and we had a great time visiting with family. There is nothing to do in this town, but be with family, chat, reminisce, and relax. Sitting around the kitchen table, drinking Folgers coffee and reminiscing is a great prescription for hustle and bustle. Stopping to know that the fiber of your being is woven together with memories of family, and celebrations, and the foundation upon which "you" are is strong because you have time to be together and close and tell those you love, "I love you."

The dust in West Texas still tastes nasty, but being with your family at Christmas is delicious. I love you Teensy, Chubber Chubber, Mister T, and Kendra! You are what makes my year bright.


Sharon said...

Ahhhhh. Is not Christmas the bestest time of the year with the ones you love the most? I am glad you made it there and back safe and there will always be memories. That is what time away from home makes.
Love ya man!!!

Tracy said...

this sounds vaguely familiar :-) packing up eeverything but the kitchen sink to go home for Christmas. little ones come with so much stuff ha!
happy new year will

Tracy said...

do i remember those days - everything but the kitchen sink in the car. traveling with kids is hard enough but for Christmas.. its nuts. i swear if i could go back i'd tell my family we'll come AFTER Christmas.... shlepping everything was so nuts. Felt like hitching the house up to the car!
Happy New Year to all the Spoons!