Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Holidays Away From Family

     After the birthday trip to Disney and recovering from a terrible flu it was time to plan for the holidays 8 hours away from our family.  When we upgraded the fifth wheel we had two options, save the money for a trip to Alabama for the holidays or enjoy a trip to Disney for the day. We chose Disney and to stay at our ‘home’ for the holidays.

      I was initially worried that it wouldn’t be the same without the family around at such a special time of the year, but once again I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, we did miss seeing everyone that we cherish and hold dear to our hearts, the ones that know us best and we call family.  Then again we were working on our family and spending a stress free holiday season at home and starting our own traditions to pass on to our lil one.

      The adopted grandparents and neighbors we had grown to know at Pecan Park RV Park made it feel just as if we were at home.  The Park hosted a pot luck dinner and one of the neighbors cooked a wonderful ham, she worked her tail off on her part of the dinner. All I had to do was make some of my famous sausage balls, but I couldn’t only cook those. I had to have our own special Thanksgiving dinner for us at home, like I’ve done for all the years since we moved away from our families.

      After the sausage balls were done and our turkey in the oven, it was time to get up to the clubhouse and enjoy this blessed day to be with people we knew and some we hadn’t met yet. Everyone made it feel just like being at home, as most of them were away from their loved ones too. We walked in and had everything you would have at your grandmother’s house on the table, it was a glorious sight to see all the vittles to choose from and I didn’t even have to cook a ton myself. We filled the lil one’s plate and ours with great tasting food made from recipes from all over the nation.

      When the potluck was over, I had to get home and get my pies and dressing in the oven as my turkey cooked in only 4hrs, never have I had one cook that quick, loving the smaller propane stove now.  We were stuffed to the gills while I prepared all of our favorites to eat for dinner and enjoy all the leftovers for the following week. It was just almost like we were in Bama for Thanksgiving, just almost. 

      It was time to put up the smallest Christmas tree I’d ever had up, but with the smaller living space I had no choice but to use the 3 foot tree.  The lil one chose to decorate the tree, not with the seashells we had collected for a beach themed tree, but with the red and green schlotzky looking ornaments I had hung onto just for this reason. We had to set the tree on a box to keep the dog from knocking off ornaments every single time he walked by, to make it more festive the lil one and I wrapped it in extra Christmas paper.

      Before long we were shopping for gifts, with the size and weight always a concern for us; we chose the gifts extra careful. The lil one wanted nothing but musical instruments, the main one being a guitar and microphone. At Toys R Us they had just what we needed and a few other small gifts that the lil one had eyed the week before. We chose the ones that we actually thought would be played with for longer than a week or two, being that has been the going theme; convince mom and dad to buy a toy and it get discarded rather quickly considering what was spent on it.

      The presents were wrapped, early of course, to give the lil one something to look at every day with anticipation. Being the mom that I am I just had to have some fun with some of them; a set of pajamas I rolled up and stuffed into a roll of toilet paper and wrapped the roll, others we placed into cereal boxes and some I just mislabeled the name on it. For weeks we told the lil one that all anyone was getting was things that we actually needed, food and essentials like toilet paper. When the lil one started shaking and squeezing the presents the toilet paper was guessed right off, I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to see the looks on the lil one’s face as they were unwrapped.

      The big day came all too soon as it does every year. The lil one awoke and started unwrapping the prized presents. When a cereal box that held the Rapunzel wig was unwrapped, the response was “At least it is my favorite cereal!” and never once did the lil one think to open the cereal box, we let this one ride for a few. Next was the toilet paper, the look on the lil one’s face was priceless when the actual roll of toilet paper was uncovered, it didn’t take long before the pj’s were discovered inside though. We got to the last and biggest one of all, the guitar that was labeled as dear ol’ mom’s present, the lil one couldn’t understand why the guitar wasn’t under the tree, and it was the main one wanted. After a bit of confusion and trickery by her mean parents the lil one figured out that it was a guitar and was mislabeled all along. What a joyful face we saw at that moment!!

      It wasn’t long before the lil one had to run out and show all the neighbors what the presents held. We had a concert to attend later in the day put on by none other than our lil budding musician. Over all it ended up being a very pleasant Christmas morning in the fifth wheel, having the two slides in the living area really helped with the extra space needed to pull this off. I think I’ve gotten spoiled to all the room and have decided that the next one will have to have the two slides and a few extra feet in length to add a bunk room for the lil one.

      I knew it was time to start cooking as soon as the wrapping paper was cleaned up; we had our own traditions to start after all.  I have learned how to make a magnificent meal in such a small space, aggravating at times but the outcome is almost always worth it. We have started a tradition of adding an ornament to the tree of where ever we may be during the holiday seasons; one of the dear neighbors actually started it for us with their gift of a Disney ornament to the lil one. I can’t wait to see where we will be come this time next year, but I know as long as I have my little happy family surrounding me it will be a wonderfully blessed and busy holiday season.

Untill next time..... 

I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich. ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, "Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H

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