Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving that almost wasn't

First, and foremost... just a few of the reasons I am so thankful this year....

I love how they love each other! Monkey Do gives Daisy a kiss here!

Puddin (4), Monkey See (28 months), Bud (8 1/2 months), Monkey Do (28 months), Daisy (81/2 months)

Secondly, I have shared about my best laid plans many, many times before. And because I am apparently a slow learner, He continues to give me those teachable moments! So, before I share our tale of "Thanksgiving"day let me just say that it turned out to be pretty perfect, and truly we were able to really concentrate on what is most precious to us.
And, you read this whole post you may have bleeding retinas before you are through- so here's a little eye candy first!

My sweet "big kids" Monkey See, Pudidn, and Monkey Do.
Baby Daisy and Baby Bud on their 1st Thanksgiving!!

Now, sit back and hear a tale... a tale of a dreadful trip... (ok- enough of Gilligan...hehe... I have no idea where that came from anyway!)

We started Thanksgiving day as we do most days in this house.. in a hustle and whirlwind of packing diaper bags, dressing kids, looking for shoes, changing unexpected poopies and trying, desperately trying, for me to get a shower in. Truthfully, it can be exhausting some days. Add to it the fact that I had my prized corn casserole to finish making , and well, you get CHAOS!

Not to mention the fact that Hubby and I were already a little stressed out from van troubles. For the past several months (since the babies were born) we have had some idling problem that was continuing to be misdiagnosed. As of late, we had taken it to a different shop to have it fixed. In fact, we were on the 3rd week of having the van in and out of the shop... can you see where this is going???

Anyway, we arrived home from Mississippi on Sunday night, took the van in on Monday morning and did not have it back until Wednesday night around 6 pm. (yes, I was at home with all 5 babes for 3 solid days... we missed getting out and about but Thankfully, we were so tired from our Mississippi trip that it was a welcome relief to be at home!)

Now, I'd like to say that our van was returned on Wednesday night all fixed and in great working condition. I'd like to say that, but I'd be lying if I did. I was told by the man who fixed had the van all week, that he had done all that he could do before our trip and he would need it again when we returned (warning #1). Of course I asked it was safe to drive, and was told that yes, it would be fine. We had been driving it around for months without breaking down, it would be fine until we got home. After some more discussion and much deliberation he returned our van to us that evening.

So... back to Thanksgiving morning... Hubby goes out to pull the van into the garage because when it was dropped off the guy from the shop left it in the driveway and brought us our keys. Hubby comes in the house, I sense somethings up, and he tells me the lights were left on all night (warning #2). He is able to get the van to start (yeah for a new battery) and we are so Thankful and happy.

Finally, we get the children dressed and fed, diapers changed, ourselves showered, our diaper bags packed, our corn casserole cooked, diapers changed again, and the van loaded. As hubby was finishing loading the van he asked me if I thought we really needed the stroller... if he took it out we would have much more room. I paused and something came over me- there was no way that stroller was coming out of the van. I told him to leave it, just in case we break down! Not that I'm psychic or anything like that, but seriously, those words had never crossed my mind until then (warning #3).

So we finally, finally leave the house, we drive along, get onto to the interstate, driving along pretty good. We pass Puddin's beloved castle and she dreams and wonders about the princesses that live there. Shortly after that we are pulled over at a remote gas station trying to figure out what to do next.
Puddin and I were dreaming about the castle and the princesses when Monkey Do began to have another screaming fit of terror. He has been doing this lately every time we travel for any distance. It's usually a sign that he is about to have a severe bought of motion sickness. I gave him Dramamine before we left but that doesn't always work for him. So, I was up, out of my seat belt, leaning over the back of my seat, trying to calm Monkey Do and pleading with hubby to be careful and reminding him that if I died he would be solely responsible for all 5 of these little people all by himself. All of that was going on when I heard, and felt, a slight rumble. Then I heard it again, plopped back in my seat, fastened my seat belt, and heard a continuous sound and felt a vibration that was completely new to our van. NOT GOOD.

We took the next exit, found a station and pulled in. Hubby, trying to save Thanksgiving and avoid the inevitable (he's an eternal optimist) got out, filled the tank and calmly said he would take a look under the hood and just try and fix the problem.

Oh my, how I love my husband. There are so many things about him that are endearing. But, fixing a rumbling, vibrating van is not one of them. Bless his heart though- he was trying to keep me (his realist of a wife)calm.

After he got out I started calling the dealership to see if we could pull in, have a quick fix, and get on with our trip. Not possible, of course. It was Thanksgiving day!! No one was working. Hubby got back in the van. Clearly, all optimism gone as he held an unknown clamp in his hand. Apparently, that little guy wasn't reattached to something but who knew what?!

To say we were upset was an understatement. This kept popping into my head but I started having visions of me walking back to Murfreesboro along the interstate pushing my stroller and holding the rest of my brood close to me as flying cars whizzed past- or worse, some crazies trying to pick us up! UGH!! I had to explain to Puddin and the boys that we couldn't go to Nana and Papa's house after all, our van was broken and we had to go home. They were pit.i.ful. Poor things broke out into tears. I called my mom and held back the tears and hubby tried to figure out what to do next. No one could even come and help us with out an hour drive and a caravan. I mean, most vehicles won't hold 5 car seats and 2 adults in addition to the occupants already riding along.

We decided we had no choice but to try and get home. We referred to the manual and found that when a certain engine light came on we were supposed to get to a repair shop asap but if we had to drive then to maintain a slow speed. So we drove 45, with the flashers on, all the way home. It was a long drive. BUT- we were so incredibly thankful to be home and to be safe and warm and all together. We were thankful that we didn't have to walk or that the engine didn't blow on our desperate drive home. Even through our disappointment, we were thankful.

So we unloaded the van, got the children in and warmed up and decided it was a perfect day to eat junk food (a delicacy my children rarely get to indulge in and to decorate the house for Christmas!) Hubby and Monkey Do putting up the Christmas tree. (BTW- he's wearing a top hat... just beacuse he can!) So thankful for my sweet hubby! He keeps me laughing and sane!

We watched my favorite Christmas movie ate lots of Cheetos and drank hot chocolate. For Thanksgiving dinner we had mac n cheese, corn casserole (smile) and peanut butter turkey shaped sandwiches. And it was great! The house was beautiful! By bedtime we had put up and decorated 4 Christmas trees and the halls were decked!
I talked to my mom and she and my step dad were going to bring us Thanksgiving dinner the following day so we could spend time with them too.
It all worked out for the best and it turned out to be a great Thanksgiving day after all.

baby Bud giving Mommy kisses!

Since this post is sooo long already, I will save the details of the van situation for another day.
Let's just say there was a lot more wrong than 1 clamp being left off. We were even more grateful after we got the news, that we made it home safely.

I hope wherever you are you were able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!


Benton Family said...

So glad that you embraced the joy...loved the last picture...too precious! I bet that corn casserole was delicious! You can't beat cheetos anyway! :)

Love you, miss you friend!

Melanie said...

Oh Melissa! I'm so sorry and so grateful you made it home safely! We had van troubles this summer thus our 'new' van. Of course not until we had traveled to Kansas and back with no AC (in July)and fear of the transmission going caput (after $2000 in "repairs"). I don't know why these guys can't just tell the truth and say "we can't fix it".