Thursday, January 6, 2011

thankful thursday ~ the family adventure

Last week Les and I took the girls on our very first official family holiday! Sure, there have been summers where we have rented our friend's family cabin for a few nights but other than that we have no family holiday memories.

Until now!

And the week was jam-packed with things to be thankful for ~ starting with the fact that we were able to go in the first place. With Christmas only a few days in the past and Les off of work for 2+ weeks (unpaid!), it's not usually considered a great time to be spending money frivolously. But I'm thankful that with money saved up just for this occasion, we could relax and know that this trip could happen without us having to pay it off for months afterwards.

I'm also thankful that Les' passport came in time. And I mean just in the nick.of.time. It's a story I won't get into now, but in order for us to be able to go we needed it to fall into our hands by December 24th. And it did. Phew!

I'm thankful that the girls were good travelers. It was only a 3.5 hour trip, but other than way too many "Are we there yet's?", it went without a hitch. Our van's TV/VCR unit hasn't been working for the past several months, so we were extra thankful that it was a peaceful drive.

I'm thankful for the fun days we could spend together as a happy family. Especially after the lack of family time we've had over the past 6 months, this was a very welcome change. And I'm thankful that everybody got along splendidly, even after spending almost every waking hour together.

I'm thankful that I didn't have to cook for several days and that we could introduce the girls to fun, different restaurants than the ones we usually frequent. They got to experience the wonder that is Paradiso,

enjoy the Texas Roadhouse where they could actually throw peanut shells directly onto the floor,

and pretend to be pigs at Famous Dave's!

I'm thankful that everybody stayed pretty healthy over the course of the week. I'm thankful that all of the "just in case" medicine I had packed never had to be used. Other than one "off" night and morning for me (sadly, after having a very enjoyable Famous Dave's experience, with now has negative association!), we were spared.

I'm thankful for the friends that the girls made at the hotel ~ two other sisters who were the same ages as Joelle & Malia. They were there for the same duration of time as we were, and after a few days Joelle and the other 7-year-old girl decided to be "best friends."

I'm thankful that the hotel we were staying at had a great pool with a fun waterslide! Joelle never ended up getting up the courage to try the slide, but Malia went down it countless times ~ up and down...up and down.

The friends and the pool facilities proved to come in extra handy when were were stranded in our hotel for an extra two days due to weather. Yup, that's right ~ we were caught in two back-to-back blizzards that closed the highway we needed to take to get us back to our home, sweet home. And for just shy of 48 hours our hotel was without TV and internet ~ and while that proved to be a bit of a nuisance, I am also thankful that at least we had power, since there were parts of the city that didn't.

I'm thankful that we were kept safe during all of our day-to-day outings, even though the city was under a "no travel" advisory. I'm thankful that we only got stuck once ~ and that it was in our hotel parking lot where someone else was stuck so we could help each other out. I'm thankful that while the majority of stores and restaurants were closed during parts of these blizzards, we always had food to eat and a place to sleep and stay warm.

I'm thankful that while our travel insurance was set to expire on New Year's Eve {since we were supposed to be home by then}, and our local insurance companies ~ and Blue Cross themselves ~ were closed due to the holidays, we got things figured out. Thanks to a wonderful insurance company in the city close to where we live ~ which is run by people our family knows personally ~ we ended up getting our insurance extension. It required help from my parents and the kindness of our friends who went to their office outside of business hours to help us out.

I'm thankful that during the second blizzard ~ on New Year's Eve ~ when next-to-nothing was open, we were able to hit a Wal-M*rt to pick up groceries for our own picnic-style supper in our hotel room. We even celebrated with special New Year's cupcakes. ;)

I'm thankful that one of the other families staying at the hotel suggested showing one of their movies on the TV/DVD player in the lounge/breakfast area for the kids on New Year's Eve. It was a nice way for the kids to get a change of scenery and have something to do (since the cable was still out during this time).

I'm thankful for the way we spent the rest of the evening, back in our hotel room playing games with the girls. We may have been stranded in a hotel room in a different city ~ and a different country ~ but we made the best out of it and had a very memorable New Year's Eve!

I'm thankful that the girls slept wonderfully over the entire {extended} holiday. Our hotel room may have been big, but it was one big room for all of us to share. So the potential for sleepless nights was there. I'm just thankful the potential for it never turned into a reality.

Not only did the girls go to bed well, but they also slept in nicely every morning. And ~ the few times when one or the other of them did get up at night, I'm thankful that they chose to go to their Dad's side of the bed. Every.Single.Time. This is odd since they always come to my side of the bed at home. So I definitely enjoyed this treat!

I'm thankful that after our 2nd unplanned night at the hotel that the roads finally opened up for travel. I'm thankful that even though our trip budget went w-a-y overboard with the extra nights and extra meals, we were kept safe. I'm thankful that when we did finally get to travel home that the roads were really good and that we got home safely.

I am also super thankful that we got home when we did. Any later and we could've been in for some serious problems! We didn't take my sister up on the offer to check in on our house while we were away {silly us!} and when we got home, our house was at a very chilly 33*F (0.5*C). That's pretty darned close to freezing! We were fortunate that we got home before our pipes started freezing and/or bursting!

So while I may not have been thankful for all of the circumstances that got thrown our way, I am thankful for so many things that contributed to a very memorable first family holiday!


Kathy and Carl said...

What a great vacation to be thankful for, even for the unexpected events. So glad that you got to enjoy it together as a family.

Amanda said...

Sounds like wonderful memories were made. Glad you enjoyed the trip!

TammyIsBlessed said...

Sounds like a great trip overall! I'm thinking next time you'll let her check your house ;)

Pamela said...

Great will be one you talk about forever! Those are the best family stories.

LaughingLady said...

Glad it went so well, even the extra, unexpected days!! And that you got home just in time to correct the problem with your furnace/air intake ~ yikes, that could have been nasty!