Monday, November 26, 2007

Chef's Thanksgiving Day Special

There's nothing like a family road trip to make you wonder...How did my life get here? Seriously. I have THREE kids. Three kids! Three kids? When did I cross that line? That line from being the pest in the back seat to the parent in the front? It doesn't feel like that long ago that I was sitting in the back arguing about who's touching who and tattling on someone for looking at me funny and repeatedly asking if we're there yet. I now have children doing the same thing. Is that possible?

My kids traveled incredibly well...thanks to an in car DVD player, a pack of construction paper, and a little tape. I discovered a talent I didn't know I had. I am a master with construction paper. By the end of the trip, Parker and Reid accumulated 5 hats each. We of course had Pilgrim and Indian hats to remember it was Thanksgiving. We also had Rudolf hats, Santa hats, elf default, and crowns (or king hats as Parker refers to them). Parker was never without a hat on the trip. Which was fine with me, except when he left the car in his completely politically incorrect Indian hat. I hope we didn't offend any Native Americans (or is it American Indians?).

We took a quick trip out to Texas. What was supposed to be a 16 hour drive quickly (or slowly) turned into a 20 hour drive with three kids. Spencer didn't get any extra time off work so we drove down for 2 days, stayed there for 1, and drove back for 2. Let me tell was tight quarters for 5 days. That's a lot of time to spend with a car full of boys and no break...even after the kids were in bed, because I was in the next bed over. You can only imagine the gas involved in a car full of boys for five days. Followed immediately by laughter from at least three of them (you can guess which three because Grayden's too young to understand that boys are supposed to think that's funny) and then an announcement of who did it. My oldest is three. I thought this wasn't going to start until they were older. I occasionally found myself laughing, too. Little boys are just funny. That's what makes me a good mother of all boys. That and the fact that I could carry on a 10 minute conversation with Parker about bird poop. Yes, Parker came to the realization this week that birds poop while they're flying and poop can fall right through the sky and land on your car. Anyone who found this last paragraph completely disgusting and offensive is not a good candidate to be a parent of all boys. Anyway...besides the major meltdown at Denny's on the drive home, we all survived and I still love all four of them.

For anyone who didn't put two and two together, yes, we traveled on Thanksgiving. The closest I came to a Thanksgiving dinner was a turkey sub I got at a truck stop in the middle of No-where-ville Oklahoma. NOTHING was open on Thanksgiving. Between St. Louis and Oklahoma City was a whole lot of nothing. And nothing is open in small towns on Thanksgiving. We stopped at several gas stations that were not open. We're lucky we didn't run out of gas (besides that from my boys). Spencer could hardly bare Thanksgiving without turkey. (He got a slice of pizza at the truck stop instead of a turkey sub.) Although, he did remind me of an almost turkey-less Thanksgiving in years past that we spent with his family. We had turkey, it just wasn't ready until a few hours after dinner was over. By the time we got to the hotel, the restaurant had served it's Thanksgiving dinner hours before. But Spencer talked them into fixing him up a plate to-go that he brought up to the hotel room for us to share. I have no idea what kind of "Chef's Thanksgiving Day Special" that was. It was the worst turkey I've ever laid taste buds on. It didn't include mashed potatoes or stuffing or rolls. It was turkey, ham, rice and zuccini. YUM! (sarcastic).

We actually really lucked out with hotels. I made all my reservations on line before hand. I Price-Lined them. You know...where you put in your credit card, name your own price, and hope you get something decent. We ended up with a four star hotel in both St. Louis and Nashville. And a three star in Texas which may have been the best of all three because it was brand-spankin'-new. Every hotel had big down comforters and throw pillows on the beds, granite counter tops in the bathrooms and solid wood headboards on the beds. Sweet! And I always type in a really low price to see if any hotel would accept it. I was so surprised to get such great deals during the biggest travel holiday of the year.

This was our hotel in St. Louis. An old Union Station building. The boys thought we were staying in a castle.
Hyatt Regency St. Louis

It was just as awesome on the inside...This is the lobby.
The Grand Hall

The Grand Hall

This is what our cheap room looked like.
Two Queen Beds - Garden Guestroom Bathroom

Not bad huh? Nashville was pretty awesome, too. We stayed right in the center of Opryland. Spencer was a little star struck and hoping to run into some famous country singer at the hotel. No such luck.

The trip really wasn't as bad as I anticipated, but not fun nonetheless. I'm grateful for such great boys. As crazy as they can be, they are really well behaved kids. And even though we were in too tight of quarters, it was nice to have five whole days to have the family together.


Autumn said...

Great job on the priceline finds! Looks like it was worth the risk! Wow, you guys are troopers to go that far for such a short stay!! When you first mentioned the amount of gas, I thought you were talking fuel to get there...guess you had both types. :) How funny. I'm glad Spencer got his turkey, though maybe he wasn't in the end?

Cynthia said...

You are a real trooper Katie. As an added bonus to your trip, you can add a skill to your resume . . . millinery! Sadly the gas in the car issue is not a "boy only" issue (although before I had girls, I, too, thought it was) and it only gets louder, funnier and stinkier the older they get.
btw - I LOVE Priceline, too. Once in a great while, we get a stinker, but overall we have been more pleased than disappointed and usually pay between $40 to $70 per night.

Traci Elizabeth said...

So why Texas?? Is there anyone there or did you just decide to drive 20 hours to visit a new state?? Either way, you are a true trooper. Those hotels were gorgeous (too bad you and spencer werent alone..if you know what I mean!)

Lauri said...

You're exactly it is that you're now the mother of three and how did I become a grandmother? Life comes at you fast!

jeanine said...

Wow... I'm super impressed with your hotels! We never get anything that good... I'll have to try this price-line next time. Glad that you had a good trip!

Betheny & Jacob said...

KATIE! Wow! How random is this?! Do you remember me?? I was in your stake way back when in Corona. My name is Betheny Tomseth (Whitman). It's so great to see you! I actually ran into a friend of yours that lives up here in Syracuse, UT. Her name is Crystal and she said that she lived with you and your family for a little while in Corona. My blog is Drop me a line and keep in touch!

Shalece & Craig said...

Your blog entries are so entertaining I love it. You should be a writer :) What a trip, glad you survived!

~Pedersens~ said...

what a LONG trip/drive! i am with Traci... why did you guys choose to drive to Texas?? your hotel looks nice, glad you guys seemed to have a good time. Happy Holidays!!