Last week, of course, was Thanksgiving. You probably already knew that. What you didn’t know was that last week involved three funerals, a wedding, and a road trip for the Faulk family. You know what that means, right? Wes wore a suit and tie more last week than he has in an entire three years of Sundays at our church.
He just loves suits and ties. (Not really.)
Because this year was our year to be with my family, we started planning a trip to Alvarado, which is a five hour drive from Pasadena. Because we’ve been spoiled by having everything so close to us in Houston (seriously, five minute drive to Target here, whereas the drive to the nearest Target from our house in Oklahoma involved us crossing state lines), we consider a ten hour round trip to be a long drive. So, we made arrangements to go up Wednesday and stay through Friday to make it worth everyone’s while. Once my sister heard the plans, she offered to have everyone stay at her house where there are enough rooms for everyone, making the trip only a four hour trip. (Or it would have been, had our GPS, in an attempt to avoid one mile of toll roads that we could have avoided on our own, not sent us on an hour long circle around Dallas, rather than straight through. Boo!)
Anyway, all that said, the girls jumped into bed with us on Wednesday morning, so excited that we were about to go on our Thanksgiving trip. They were even more excited that it was my birthday and told Wes (just like I had coached them to) that he needed to go and pick up breakfast from McDonald’s for me. Oh, and while he was at it, they told him, he needed to get some breakfast for them as well. Done and done. I enjoyed the breakfast so much that I was sick before we got in the car for our road trip. (What gives, digestive system? It’s either the excessive running at this point in our marathon training that makes me unable to eat anything without puking or the fact that I’m an old lady whose body just cannot handle a whole container of McDonald’s syrup and three of those butter packets they give you, smothered all over some hotcakes. Still delicious! Still worth the nausea!)
Despite the fact that I felt like death, we all loaded into the car and headed out of town. Just north of Houston, traffic came to a complete stop. We’re not sure what was going on, but we took a side road and managed to see more of Huntsville and Madisonville than I think anyone else has ever seen, honestly. We stopped for lunch at McDonald’s (I hadn’t abused my body enough, apparently), where they had all kinds of caffeinated drinks but no water. Huh.
I took the wheel at this point because Wes ordered some huge drippy monstrosity of a burger that was hard to eat while driving while I opted to eat fries for lunch. (Maybe poor choices like this are why I feel like death sometimes.) I told the girls we weren’t stopping again until we got to Aunt Kerry’s house, which sounded like a great idea… until we were about thirty minutes away, the girls had grown tired of the books they’d brought, and we were driving through the ghetto, thanks to the GPS. (Which was my fault. I’m always so paranoid that our Houston toll tags won’t work in Dallas and that we’ll be fined eight million dollars if we get caught within an inch of one of their toll ways. It could happen, y’all.)
Once we got there, we discovered that my sister’s house had been overtaken by rats. Oh, excuse me, guinea pigs. Have you ever seen one of these things up close?! Ana was about as freaked out by these large rodents running all over my niece and nephew as I was, but Emma laid right down with them and begged them to run on her, too. (Which they did.) Hilarity and hijinks ensued until it was time to go to dinner, at which point Wes and I were glad we drive an unappealing, tiny, green machine that no one wanted to ride in, leaving us free to tag along in my parents’ small car while all four kids rushed to my sister’s large SUV. We considered heading to a different restaurant seeing as how she and my brother-in-law had all the kids but figured they would find us eventually and return the kids to us.
After dinner, there was a cookie cake (yum!), and we all sat around for a long time while all the kids watched Frozen over and over again. And sang really loudly. My sister asked us what island in Hawaii we’re heading to for our anniversary trip, and when I told her the Big Island, she pulled out a photo album full of pictures of the vacation we’ve been planning for months! In all the planning and researching we’ve done, we never stopped and thought that we might actually know someone else who’s been there. It was good to hear things confirmed regarding spots we don’t want to miss, parks we want to get to, and, yes, the necessity of a jacket for cold-natured me, even in Hawaii. (Seriously, my sister had a jacket on in nearly every picture. As I told Wes, “It’s going to be a miserable trip for you if I go without one and spend the whole time telling you how cold I am.” And it would have been, but thanks to those pictures, I’m now packing a jacket!)
Thanksgiving began early the next day, and the first order of business was to look over the Black Friday ads. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I’m the first in line for Black Friday deals and that I do it quickly enough to be sitting at Taco Cabana at 8am eating breakfast, all finished up before things get crazy out there. I would have loved to have done the same this year, but our plans had been changed since we had to get back for one of the funerals on Friday morning. (I was really bummed about this as my in-laws had given me a Macy’s gift card for my birthday. Knowing I wouldn’t make it to the store, I went online that night as we were coming back home, just as the sales were starting, just to see what the deals were like. And they were the same deals online as I would have gotten going to the store in person! Here’s where being a completely average person with a completely average body type and size is amazing, y’all. I don’t have to try on clothes to see if they fit. Anything off the rack or online that’s true to size will fit like it’s made for me. So, I went ahead and shopped, and in no time at all, I had my cart filled up and my gift card spent. Happy birthday to me!)
But back to Thanksgiving lunch. As we looked through the ads, I found a couple of things that were still on my Christmas shopping list, and I volunteered my mother to go to Wal Mart and fight the crowds on my behalf. Hey, she was already going to go anyway. She and my sister made their lists as Thanksgiving dinner cooked. This included frying a turkey, the onset of which thrilled Emma as the oil bubbled over as soon as the bird went in. (Ana wasn’t as impressed as she had plans to only eat chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese.)
Once we were ready to eat, we noticed that none of the kids had gotten dressed or brushed their teeth. Hmm. (In fact, I’m not sure if they ever changed out of their pjs the entire time we were there.) We got ready to bless the food, and Emma jumped in and prayed before anyone else could. It’s the Ritalin, y’all. She’s on task with everything lately! A Thanksgiving miracle!
After a great meal and many trips back for seconds and desserts, Wes and I packed up our things and got ready to head back to Houston. The girls opted to stay with Gram and Gramps for the weekend, so we said goodbye to them and started driving back. I’m happy to report that traffic never got bad and that the only sign of crazy Black Friday hysteria we saw was at a really crowded Cracker Barrel on the north side of Houston, where a guy on his phone told whoever he was talking to that, “All the crazies are out tonight!” Hey, guy, you were waiting on a table with the rest of us… so, aren’t you lumped into the crazies? I think so.
Thankful for a great Thanksgiving…