My husband and I usually determine our Thanksgiving plans about a month or two prior. One of the main things to consider is whether he has to work the next day as he is a flexible resource for his employer. His schedule varies every year.
Thanksgiving plans usually mean traveling early in the morning as we need to drive about 2 ½ hours to meet with extended family located in the northern part of Nebraska. Actually, I have to pack our bags the night before. My husband likes to pack his own bag, but I have two people to pack for. In the morning, we load the SUV with the bags, snacks, drinks, additional toys, books, crayons, portable DVD player and some DVD’s. It appears that we have packed for a four-day weekend, but really it’s just for one night in a hotel.
I’ve come to realize that traveling with a toddler, it is very crucial to bring extra things to keep him entertained. If he is happy, everyone else in the vehicle is happy! As you can only imagine, situations may become interesting and call for a stop at a park in a small town and let the little guy run around and stretch those legs. My son is more aware of his surroundings, talking, jabbering and his cries (or fits) are louder. DVDs are the last resort, but work like a charm when he can’t stand another hour in the car. Baby Einstein is a life-saver. Thank you Julie Clark!
We arrive at the hotel which resembles a beautiful log cabin mansion. The main entrance has a fireplace, Nativity scene, cozy seating and a Christmas tree. Complimentary apples, oranges and sometimes cookies are available. Our rooms are next to other members of family or at least in the same vicinity so that we may visit one another. The hotel is attached to a couple of restaurants, one which serves an excellent prime rib.
After a 15 minute drive outside of town, we arrive at the aunt’s house to have Thanksgiving dinner with extended family. We park in the shallow ditch along with the rest of the vehicles, because there is no more room in the driveway or yard. The first thing we see as we walk through the garage, is a table full of desserts. Why are they in the garage? There is no more room inside the house for desserts! We enter the home and are greeted by “hellos” and hugs. I search for seating to mingle and grab a brownie.
There is food everywhere. Father-in-law has brought the best ham I’ve ever eaten. There is also the turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, numerous pies (don’t forget the desserts in the garage too), other desserts and pastries. Father-in-law also bakes the best dinner rolls as they are made from scratch. We always expect to come home with a bag of rolls for later eating…in the hotel and the return home. Eat, eat, and eat. Full? Yes? Nah, have a piece of cheesecake. Hour later, have chocolate covered peanuts. Ah, I haven’t had that pumpkin pie yet, or the chocolate mousse pie. Heck, I’ll have a small piece of each. Why not? More ham please and a roll. I saved my tummy for this day. Oh, and we can’t forget about football.
It’s time to return to the hotel and relax our tummies and perhaps take a little nap. We have no room for supper. Fine by me, those dinner rolls are still around aren’t they? Thought I no longer had room for food. We later meet the extended family at the local bowling alley around 8 p.m. Usually a portion of the bowling alley is rented. This has been the tradition for many years.
After bowling we head back to the hotel, chat, have some drinks and go to bed. We need to wake up early the next morning for shopping! My in-laws plan to hit the local stores that are to open at midnight to begin their shopping. I’ve never done this, and don’t plan to start. I’m tired and very stuffed. So is my son!
Waking up around 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning doesn’t work well with me, but if we want to have breakfast with family or shop together, we better wake up – we are leaving within the hour. We hit the mall, Menards, Target, and Wal-Mart. We are all over the place. Eat lunch, then return to the hotel and pack the vehicle. What a busy morning. My little family is on our way home as it has been a long two days. Baby Einstein is in the DVD player and we still have dinner rolls.
(Thanksgiving 2010, my husband has to work the next day so we plan to celebrate the holiday at home and perhaps order a prepared dinner from a local restaurant or grocery store. Maybe we’ll find a buffet serving a Thanksgiving dinner. My son and I plan to do a little shopping if we can deal with the crowds and enjoy a relaxing long weekend. I might attempt to make the famous rolls my father-in-law makes. We will also put up the Christmas tree. Looking forward to Christmas.)