Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Happens When Thanksgiving Plans Are Blown Up

Some of you may have noticed a slight decrease in posting the past few days. That's about the only thing that's gone according to plan for me this week of the turkey.

Getting a Christmas tree was about all that went to plan this week.

Now, don't get me wrong. I had an excellent week filled with food, family, and tradition. However, most everything happened in a different way than I expected.

The Original Plan
  • Thursday (11/17): Drive up to Ohio, possibly stop in at the new Cincy office, and stay the night at my grandfather's house.
  • Friday (11/18): Go in to work at new Cincy office before having off-site meeting. Then, pick up my Ohio boys (Ben and Jonah) to head down to Georgia.
  • Saturday (11/19): Have fun!
  • Sunday (11/20): Go to church before Foster family Thanksgiving (done in advance).
  • Monday (11/21): PTO day. Have fun!
  • Tuesday (11/22): Pack for trip to Ohio for Brewer family Thanksgiving.
  • Wednesday (11/23): Hit road for Ohio in early morning hours. When in Ohio, get groceries for Thanksgiving.
  • Thursday (11/24): Brewer family Thanksgiving extravaganza!
  • Friday (11/25): Visit National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Saturday (11/26): Take Ben and Jonah to their home before joining my brothers to watch the Ohio State-Michigan game, then head back to Georgia with Tammy, Reese, Will, and Hannah.
  • Sunday (11/27): Go to church and get a Christmas tree to decorate.
What Happened...
The first change in schedule was actually a nice surprise. The Friday meeting was cancelled, which did a few things. First, it allowed me to get more actual work done before taking my PTO. Second, it allowed Ben and Jonah time to attend their cousins' (Noah and Preston) birthday party on Saturday afternoon while I drove up from Georgia during the day. Third, it gave Ben and Jonah a little extra time to fully recover from a stomach bug they suffered through earlier in the week. Win-win-win!

The one downside of this change is that we didn't make it in until very early on Sunday morning, so we were too exhausted to make it into church on that morning. That was a bummer, but we still made it to the Foster family Thanksgiving at my father-in-law's house. Great food and times! Plus, my mother-in-law offered to take Ben, Jonah, and Reese out (with their cousin Sean) to watch a movie, which helped open up time for me to pack for Ohio. Score!

The only thing that I thought could go wrong is that my brother Simon, the storm chaser, might not make it in time. He has a big heart, but he's not the most reliable person, especially when it comes to dealing with time. He's always at least a day later than he says. He agreed to help us get everyone up to Ohio without Tammy and I having to use both our cars, so I gave him a call on Sunday, and he said he'd be over on Monday or Tuesday. Good enough.

My brother Simon, the storm chaser, has a big heart...and axes.

On Monday, the boys and I had fun playing board games and such. We even got out to Chick-Fil-A so the boys could eat some nuggets and fries and run themselves ragged on the indoor playground. On Tuesday, we did some of the same. Plus, the older boys got out with their grandma and cousin to watch Puss in Boots.

Also on Tuesday, I called Simon in the morning to just ask when he thought he might be heading over. After all, the plan was to leave at 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning. He said he wasn't sure, but he was just going to help hang some Christmas lights and be over. Around 5 p.m., I was getting a little anxious (because it's a 4-hour drive), so I just called to check on him. "Taking a shower, then hitting the road. Don't worry." Around 8 p.m.--worried--I call again. "I'm packing up my car. Then, I'll be on my way." So yeah, like 9 p.m., he finally gives me a call that he's leaving. Sigh.

As needlessly frustrating as that situation turned out to be, I started to relax some. Simon wasn't going to make it over until Wednesday, but at least it would be before 5 a.m. That meant we'd at least be able to get up to Ohio at a decent time to do all our Thanksgiving grocery shopping. Everything from here on out would go according to plan, right?

Not So Fast...
Between 9 p.m. (when Simon left the Knoxville area) and 1 a.m. (when Simon arrived in the ATL area), Will puked not once but twice. Then, he puked again between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and Reese puked a few times for good measure. Apparently, the stomach bug Ben and Jonah had survived in Ohio struck in Georgia.

Tammy and I were forced to make a hard decision to send Simon up to Ohio by himself. Boy, did I feel bad about get frustrated with him about not showing up at a decent time only to make him drive down to Georgia for nothing. Plus, we were going to miss out on the first big Brewer family get together in a few years (one that I put some effort into helping organize too). Oh well, these things happen.

The bug passed quickly in both Will and Reese, and we had a great day on Wednesday despite it all. Plus, we got way too much food for our big Thanksgiving feast. It would still be a Brewer Thanksgiving--just a smaller sample size.

Tammy and I worked together to cook a ham, make fried taters, a Jello-strawberry-cream cheese-pretzel "salad," corn pudding, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows), stuffing, pie, and more by exactly noon. We all gathered around two tables slid together, held hands and prayed. Then, we all started eating until our bellies were beyond full.

Takes more than a stomach bug to keep us down on Thanksgiving!

After a little cleaning and lounging, we got out to a park before heading over to Tammy's mom's house (like me, her parents are divorced and re-married) for a Thanksgiving get together. From her mom's house, we continued our annual tradition of watching the tree lighting in the Lawrenceville square. Then, we booked it home in time for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. Life was great.

For the bedtime movie, Tammy and I decided to let the boys watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Sure, it's rated R, but that's really only for one specific scene, and it's not like they don't all already know that word. The boys loved the movie (a rare Thanksgiving movie), but they all fell asleep before the end, which was a good thing, because...

As The Movie Ended...
Tammy let me know that she now had the stomach bug the boys all carried. Then, we discovered that Hannah--without fussing at all--had puked too. Suddenly, it was almost midnight on Thanksgiving, and I was the only one to not experience this stomach bug. I felt like a marked man and was sure my time would come soon enough. Around 4 a.m. on Friday morning, it did.

Tammy and I suffered a great deal with this stomach bug on Friday. Kids seem to churn through these things in hours; parents work in days. Tammy and I could barely do anything all day, so with four boys and a baby girl in the house that surely spelled disaster, right? Surprisingly, no.

I'd have to say that Friday (11/25/11) will always be one of the days that I feel most proud of my boys. When I had trouble getting out of bed, they said they understood. If I heard one of them start to argue, I could hear the others start to make peace (instead of the usual fights). When it became obvious we wouldn't be able to get out and cut down a Christmas tree like we planned, none of them complained and said they understood. There were a ton of "I love you, Dad"s and they even asked if I needed anything throughout the day. I felt so bad that I was sick on Ben and Jonah's last day in Georgia, but I was also so proud of them. They really rose to the occasion.

Then Saturday...
I woke up early and hit the road with Ben and Jonah. We made great time up to Ohio. I dropped them off with their mom and headed back to Georgia. Since I was popping ibuprofen and Imodium AD, nothing too dramatic happened during the trip--and I actually made record time for me (only 18 hours!).

On Sunday...
We finally did something according to the Original Plan. We went to church and got a Christmas tree to decorate. Then, we decorated the tree while watching Christmas movies and shows we own on DVD. And so ends another Thanksgiving week.

I know I already had a thankful post this week, but I just want to really emphasize how lucky, blessed, and thankful I feel every day to have such an amazing wife, incredible boys (all four of them), and precious little girl (Hannah). Even when our plans are blown to smithereens, we find ways to make the most of what we got, and that's truly wonderful to experience.


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APG Jamie said...

Family and all that it is - togetherness, illness, understanding and love...

IMO it doesn't get much better than that


Anonymous said...

It is all about family. I talked to many people who had plans that went awry this week (including me), but it is all about family, love and being matter how it turns out.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving.