Canyons, Windmills, Frozen Tundra

'If there's a place you need to get, I can get you there I bet, I'm the Map." -The Map, from Dora the Explorer

How will we get there? First we have to go through the canyons. Then around the windmills. And finally we will get to the frozen tundra....Say it with me: Canyons, windmills, fro-zen tundra....

As you can see, after 30 hours and 2100 miles in a car where I spent many long hours listening to Dora, over and over again, I have finally gone over the edge. But before retiring for the second night in our warm Minnesota home I wanted to leave a few tips for making your next move as spectacular as ours:

In order to experience a Graceful Chicken-style move you will need:

1. At least 2000 miles of driving through at least 9 states....seriously, if you are going to do it, make it memorable!

2. Four coughing children (3 of which puke during coughing attacks at some point along the way and one of which doesn't sleep two nights running...)

3. One hotel, just past the canyons, that could easily be mistaken for an upgraded porta-potty, complete with concrete beds and sheets that feel like vinyl table clothes. (Mom thinks they just wipe them off after each use with a wet rag....I just didn't realize you could have a negative thread count. I am wondering now if we should've upgraded to a room with soap, or maybe a clock.) Let's just say the hotel we stayed at the first night was reminiscent of the hotel Kurt and I stayed in the last night of our honeymoon...ahhhh, what a memory. Kurt was ecstatic because after 5 weeks in Europe he finally found the perfect hotel room. (You won't believe what thirty U.S. dollars a night will get you right outside of Paris!) And while he was giddy he wasn't spending too much money, I practiced my human floating skills so I wouldn't have to touch anything that resembled a plastic bathroom while mumbling something about him being lucky I had already said yes....but I digress....

4. A teething infant sitting for over an hour in a soiled diaper because we were out in the middle of nowhere (think prairies and windmill farms)....This always make for good, calm times.

5. One spouse on an extremely tight schedule (We got in about 13 minutes later than his projected arrival time but there is success in the fact that no one got left on the side of the road in New Mexico, where the cleaning woman assured me it wasn't illegal to abandon your spouse roadside....) 

6. One backed-up hotel toilet, that your two-year old flushes one last time to try to get the rising water to go down: "Look at the beautiful waterfall!"

7. One male adult (naming no names) accidentally spilling urine on themselves while trying to pour it out the car window....at EIGHTY MILES PER HOUR! (That alone was worth every minute we spent on this trip.)

8. One snow storm (through an entire state....because driving just isn't as interesting without it.)

9. At least one person getting locked out of the new house, in NEGATIVE FIVE DEGREE WEATHER!

10. One grandma who knocks herself down to the floor by walking into a hanging lamp in the new house. (Everyone needs one of those, especially when they are watching the 4 kids....)

11. And last but not least, one child who goes into hysterics because she takes her jacket and shoes off in the car, in weather cold enough to immediately freeze your tears, and, upon realizing just how cold it is starts screaming:

"I don't like the cold! Let's go back. I don't want to live here, it's too cold. I don't like the snowy day. MY CHIN HURTS! It's TOO cold!"

And I, making the mistake of getting stressed because I can't reach her coat, it's ridiculously frigid and she is screaming wildly, raise my voice to say: "Get your coat back on! Get it on or you might freeze to death!" to which she starts crying even harder. (My bad.)

This could be a long winter.


Are we there yet?

No.  We are not there. We wish we were there...we wish we had sleeping kids instead of those awake in the middle of the night with coughing fits, nose bleeds and ear aches....we wish someone else was driving us in a huge, macked-out RV while we sat playing games, resting and watching TV....but alas, none of that is true. 

We are (almost) half way there. So far, the trip hasn't been so bad....assuming you aren't traveling with us. Two grouchy drivers, 4 croupy kids, 1 grandma with eye issues from flying.....and no fighting! Can you believe it? (If the answer to that question is yes, then you are more gullible than I would have thought!) 

Remember way back when, I said my advice for flying with 4 kids across the country was "don't." Remember that? Yeah, well, I take it back. If you must go across the beautiful USA with 4 kids, FLY! The difference between flying across the country and driving across the country with 4 sweet children is the difference between execution by injection and execution by the slow dismemberment of your body, one inch of flesh at a time. It's the difference between a quick waxing of your leg hair versus plucking each hair, one by one, with a pair of dull tweezers....between having a working epidural during labor or having someone kick you during each contraction, between being stung by a bee or being attacked by a swarm, between having your wisdom teeth pulled out while you are under anesthesia or while you are wide awake and totally unmedicated. You get my point.

Seriously, it isn't that bad, assuming you enjoy torture. But then, it got off to the kind of start that would have left you wondering why we even started. Two days ago, the moving van pulled up to our house and the guys got off the truck to start the loading. I stuck the four kids in my SUV and put the keys in the ignition and click, click, click....nothing. The car wouldn't start. No worries, we were only about to start a 3 day road trip that afternoon! Working vehicles are so overrated. 

My wonderful neighbor, Mr. Richard, whom we already miss, came out with his incredible power pack and jumped the car. Off we went to Sugar Pies for one last yummy treat and to say good-bye. After realizing my friend Tami was not there (and finishing our yummy treats), we jumped back into the car and click, click, click. What a beautiful moment that was. 

Mr. Richard re-enters the scene and jumps the car again. He follows us to the auto-parts store and goes inside and then comes back out to tell me he will take my battery out at home and bring it back for me so they can test it and then most likely replace it; God bless him. 

At home, Kurt decides that no, we should take it to the dealership since they serviced the car all of 3 days ago. After much eye rolling and mumbling from me that he go ahead and do whatever he wants, he takes the car in to the dealership who says it will be $40 just to look at the car for us. Needless-to-say, he brings the car back and off goes Mr. Richard with our battery. 

Meanwhile, my mom has called to tell me her flight is delayed in Dallas and it will be about 2 hours late. Mr. Richard's 79 year old wife comes in to give us her cell phone so that we can call Richard and, slipping on the moving guys' rugs, FALLS FLAT ON HER BACK in the middle of our entry way, somehow hitting her hip and shin on the way down. Fortunately, after refusing to allow us to help her, or call 911 or even mention it to Richard, she was able to get up and walk home where I later found her with a huge bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli on her hip and a smaller zip-lock bag of frozen bananas on her shin. 

Our battery tested dead (duh) and Richard replaced it with a new one while the moving guys finished loading our house into the truck. Kurt was on cleaning duty and after realizing we couldn't have the kids running around any longer, I took them to the park where Lily immediately fell asleep in the swing and slept through a transfer to the ground and continued to sleep the entire time. 

Meanwhile, mom's plane, which was supposed to arrive at 12:30 (meaning we would be on the road by 1) was now set to arrive at 4:30. When we arrived at the airport at 5:30, she was nowhere to be seen. We got a call from her at 5:45, when they landed, but of course, she was on the back of the plane and needed to get her checked bag, so we left the airport to get some dinner to take with us. Finally, around 6:30, we were on our way, 5 hours later than we had planned but on the road no less. 

We are thankful my car is still running. And we are especially thankful that Dora has taught our kids to chant: "Where are we going? Min-ne-so-ta! Where are we going? Min-ne-so-ta!" 

It beats "Are we there yet?" anyway. 

I'm off to figure out what state we are in (New Mexico would be the answer if I was talking geographics). More soon.... 


One last breath....of...air....

Remember that scene in Titanic where the people on the bottom of the ship are at the top of the staircase and the water is rising higher and higher and there is no way out and they know this is it.....

Yeah, that's kind of like our house right now. The packers are here finishing up the remaining boxes. Once we find which box Liam was accidentally packed in so we can rescue him, I am certain everything will be dandy....oh, except perhaps that 4 day trek across the country and having to explain to the kids why they can't personally tell Santa thank you upon our arrival.... 

See you on the other side!


Like a Chicken Carcass Christmas

One thing that happened at the time we decided to up and leave, again, is that not only do we have to pack everything up the day after Christmas (Think: "Here are your gifts kids. Like 'em? Great, now give 'em back so I can put them in the bottom of this box that you won't see for another week or so.") but since we have no income, we are practicing what many people are experiencing as well this year: Christmas-lite. (I have already told Kurt that after he unwraps his gift that I got him BEFORE we knew we were leaving, I will be taking it back to get a refund. And his heart will swell two sizes that day just at the thought of me saving money! Merry Christmas sweets!)

About a month and a half ago I had gotten to the end of my rope with the kids, particularly our eldest. Without much thought, I slapped a huge piece of wrapping paper up on the wall, put a picture of each kid above their very own column and explained to them that I spoke to Santa Claus and as of that moment, he didn't have them on the good list and if they were to earn a spot on his good list, they needed to start following instructions first time they were given. This would be noted by a Santa Sticker on the gift wrap....if they didn't prove they could do this, well, Santa would be very disappointed. They got right to work following our instructions, earning their stickers, happily doing what they were told, la-te-da-te-da, everything was sunshine and roses....for about a week, maybe two.

Their columns are about half full. As much as a scrooge as I can feel (especially once a month or so....hee hee) I don't know that I can tell them Santa won't be here on account of their behavior. After all, they are pretty darn good, most of the time. But it could make for a very interesting conversation on Christmas morning about why Santa only brought one little thing....yes, we are looking forward to our Christmas-lite. It might look a little like a picked-over-chicken-carcass-Christmas this year but I imagine it will be one we don't forget. And although many of the gifts are garage-sale and second-hand store bought, I doubt the kids will notice the difference since, when you are 2, or 4, the best part is in the unwrapping anyway.

Another thing that has happened since our life got sucked up into a whirl-wind again is that everything seems just a little, well, crazier. Yesterday my friends planned a little going away "all-members meeting" for our mom's club at my favorite place, Sugar Pies. The kids and I arrived a little early so we could hang out with the owner. As I was getting out of the car, my phone rang and when I tried to get it out of my zipped vest pocket, the zipper got stuck. Needless-to-say, I missed the call....and then every. other. call. for the next hour and a half! I swear I had more calls come in yesterday morning then I do in an entire day usually. As I was sitting there, working on the zipper, the kids asking for this and that and I nodding my head in approval to the owner's husband working the register, a random guy sat down next to me. I looked up and asked if he might be good at un-sticking stuck zippers. He took the challenge and whisked the pink vest from me, asking if he might go sit outside away from the noise of our growing group. On his way out he asked for a knife. (This can't end well, was my only thought.) Meanwhile, Liam was having a hard day, crying anytime I put him down as he was hungry and teething. Lily comes running up and announces she has to poop RIGHT NOW....down goes Liam who immediately burst into more tears, random friend told to keep an eye on him, and off I whiz Lily to the restroom where she pees all over her pants, even though she is sitting on the toilet...go figure. On our way back out, random zipper-undoing man asked if he might just cut the vest open. I am guessing he would've whipped out the duct tape next to fix it. With a very polite no, thank you, I mentioned I would just take it to the dry cleaner next door and see what they could do. He took it over for me and as I turned around I noticed Aidan was "making snow" with packets of sugar and splenda, ALL OVER SUGAR PIES!

By the end of the "meeting" I had missed a dozen calls, cleaned up far too much "snow" and taken much too much time trying to convince a 2 year old that she had to stay in the peed on clothes just a little while longer since we didn't have any spare pants in the car. My kids ate twice as much sugar as their weekly allowance would appreciate and I had to let down a friend by telling her sorry, we would NOT be debuting our 3 day road trip with a live-web-feed-video- cam...BUT the dry cleaners easily undid my vest zipper with some nifty little tool and so by golly, we are going on that note and claiming victory for all. 

The rest of the day was met with similar craziness, and as I shopped for something to put under the tree for Kurt (that he might actually get to keep) I realized that wow, I'm either an extremely boring person in terms of fashion or there are a lot of ridiculous clothes out there. The comments Lily repeatedly heard during our hour shopping trip to Macy's were:

 "Wow, who would wear that?" and
"You can't be serious?!" and
"Don't they make anything nice for UNDER $50?" and
"Ewww, Lily, don't lick the mirrors!"

Perhaps I will just tell him he didn't earn enough Santa Stickers this year....

Merry Christmas to you all!


God Bless the Child

(You can open this link and have it playing in another window while you read...it's just a song from Billy Holiday that seemed somewhat fitting, in title at least...this version, Stanley Turrentine, is quite lovely.)
We are getting down to crunch time. Many people have asked if I am stressed about our upcoming move to the North Pole. (Move? Oh shoot, is that THIS Christmas?) Either I am hiding it well or I really don't feel that stressed. Seriously, what's to stress? I mean, we are only uprooting our entire family, pulling kids from school and away from friends, driving through the snow and ice to the frozen tundra of the upper midwest, two days after Christmas....no stress... My real answer: there are moments....like last week, on the 5 minute drive to Madeline's school when Aidan, Madeline and Lily somehow managed to end up, all three in a tizzy over, oh I dunno, NOTHING. Images of 3 days in the car, four rambunctious kids, one frozen grandma, blizzards and gross hotels flashed through my mind and I just started to laugh. We couldn't even get to school without someone saying or doing something (or nothing at all perhaps!) that irritated everyone else in the car...they were probably not even aware of each other's presence until someone breathed too loudly or something crazy like that. There are moments....truly there are. My biggest worry though is that the kids will get to MN and realize we aren't really going to be neighbors with Santa Claus, their hopes smashed into a million, frozen pieces...such a harsh reality. Really.

And then there are moments like today that put everything into perspective. I was at the second-hand store trying to sell off some baby clothes and get a few necessities for MN when I asked Madeline:

"Madeline, do you like the orange coat or the green coat for Liam?"

"Um, I like the green, no, no, the orange one," she replied, running off to find Lily, hidden in the middle of some clothes rack somewhere. 

A lovely woman turned at the scene and asked hesitantly in a slight English accent, "Is his name Liam?"

"Yes," I said. 

"My son's name was Liam. I just love that name. He passed though," she said gently, a tear rolling down her cheek. "His favorite color was orange. My daughter and I picked it out for him just like that, made it his color," she added. 

"I am so sorry," I said. "How old was he?"

"Three," she replied, now fully choked up. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you sad," she continued, holding back the weeping.

"Oh no," I said reassuringly. "There is so much suffering all around us. We can't turn away from it. How did he pass?" I asked. 


"When did he pass?" I asked. 

"A year ago," she whispered. Liam looked at her, his bright blue eyes smiling and she smiled back, wiping away the tears. "I want to see you in your orange coat!" she said sweetly to him. I smiled at her, putting the green coat away and laying the orange one across my stroller. 

"Orange it is," I said to her sad smile. 

Madeline came back on the scene. "Mom, I'm HUNG-ARY!" 

"Ok, let's pay for our things and we'll go have some lunch."

"Thank you for sharing your story with us," I told the woman as I headed out the door she held open for us. 

"Bye little Liam!" she answered. 

To answer the question: No, for the most part, I am not stressed. In the grand scheme of things, this move is a walk in the park....a very, very cold and snowy park but a walk, none-the-less. 

And to the woman whose pain I cannot imagine, God Bless you and your Liam. May the memory of precious, orange outfits and loving, baby-boy smiles keep you forever warm and embraced. To you I offer the only thing I can think of (a blessing taken from Numbers 6:24-26):

"May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."


Long Lost Relatives

We have figured it out. After 10 months of testing, weighing, overfeeding and wondering why Liam remains so tiny, we have found the answer. 

Here he is in the midst of a recent family reunion with his true blood line. (He's the bald one in orange in case you are having a hard time finding him.)



Rabbit Eyes

We were on the way to school last week when we saw one of the neighborhood horses on its side with 8 to 10 people around it. It looked to be relatively, um, dead, or at least very ill as its eyes were closed and it wasn't moving. My heart did a turn as I thought about what the owner must be feeling losing such a big and beautiful animal. I mentioned aloud that I wondered if the horse was alive.

"Well, it is either dead or really sick," Aidan said. "I haven't seen a dead animal like that, have I, Mom?"

"You saw the rabbit in our yard," I reminded him.

"Oh yeah, right. The coyote ate the rabbit's eyes out," he replied. "Because coyotes eat rabbit eyes, not rabbit bodies."

"They don't eat the bodies?" I questioned.

"No, they only like the eyes, remember?"

At this point we were at his school and I left him in his classroom to resume the conversation with Madeline.

"We should go back and see if the horse is still alive or not," I said.

"Do you think the horse got its eyes eaten out?" Madeline asked.

"No, I don't think so."

"Well, I hope I don't get MY eyes eaten out. Then I wouldn't be able to see my mommy and daddy," she said. "I'd be like (insert tiny, squeaky voice) 'I can't see my mommy and daddy because my eyes got eaten out! Oh no!'"

Thankfully the horse was being helped up on its feet when we arrived, thus ending an unusual conversation. I do wonder though what the kids' teachers hear about such things....


Chicken Picked Tree

This is what happens when you let the children pick out the Christmas tree....

In case you can't see it, that pointed green thing sticking up behind Madeline and Lily is the tree....yeah, that's it....to the right of Aidan...Aidan says they picked it out for Liam:
"It's a Liam-sized tree!"

I suppose it makes sense; a Hobbit tree for our Hobbit child.


When the Rooster's Away

One thing that sometimes happens when you are a mother of 4, and your husband goes away for an extended weekend leaving you with the kids AND the tasks of planning a garage sale (because insanity has officially set in) and getting things ready to move back across the country, (a move that involves driving with aforementioned children for 3 days in a packed vehicle, through the blizzards of the midwest....because we are gluttons for punishment, that's why!), is that, well, priorities get shifted out of whack and you might get to day 3 without time for a real shower and then you realize that EWWWWWW! That smell is you!

It is then that you realize a shower is WAY past due. You know for sure because:

1. The mildew on your shower tile has died due to lack of precipitation.

2. You go to put your hair up in a French twist and it stays in place WITHOUT THE HAIR CLIP!

3. You are able to convert the insects (that have crawled out of the pipes and made homes in the shower) to religion because after an eternity of total drought you provide them with a great flood and only a few survive because of your merciful act of helping them OUT of the shower so that can go be fruitful and multiply. 

4. The stress you have been feeling merges with the oil on your skin and they list their IPO on the side of your face in such a place you can't NOT see it from the corner of your eye. 

5. You are sitting in church and realize that no one is sitting in the rows in front OR behind you and that's when it suddenly occurs to you, by way of your nostrils, why the early churches got into the habit of filling the cathedrals up with too much incense. 

6. Someone reminds you of Charlie Brown's Christmas Special and visions of Pigpen go prancing through your head.

7. When you go to bed, you decide to keep the socks on that you have been wearing all day because you think they might just be cleaner than your actual feet.

8. You don't bother changing out of your daily clothes and into your night clothes because you don't want to have to wash both sets in the morning. 

9. You go to shave and another razor bites the dust.

10. Your kids notice when you actually DO get to that shower....and they rejoice. 

It wasn't all so icky having Kurt out of town mind you....unless you count the time when Lily stuffed a Polly Pocket dress into her mouth, gagging herself and then vomiting all over the floor (did I mention how much I despise Polly?) or when Lily, in order to avoid sharing her water with Madeline, decided to pour it all out onto the sidewalk at the playground, and Madeline got down on her knees.....to lick it off the ground! Ewwww!  (But I can hardly talk!)

But, really, it was fine. Unless you count the garage sale clean-up....and I am not referring to the actual junk to haul off....I am referring to the fact that several young children were left to their own devices in the house most of the morning....it seriously looked like something out of Animal House by the end! (Complete with a random bathroom trough...) And then of course there was the Drop and Shop run by the church directly after the garage sale. What they didn't tell you at drop off was that when you picked up your kid, you would need to take them to detox at the local sugar rehab! Holy Smokes! I have never seen children as wired as mine. From the time I was supposed to pick them up and take them into the free dinner in the fellowship hall, to the time I had them all buckled into the car and headed home was 39 minutes. And the majority of that time was NOT spent eating dinner! No, it was spent telling a certain 5 year old that he needed to settle down or he would to bed without dinner, which is exactly what he did (and I don't mean he settled down!) 

I have learned some very valuable lessons this weekend. First, there is no point in talking to a kid on sugar. In fact, it is better not to say a word....simply strap them into their car seat and drive for as long as it takes for the sugar-crash to hit, then simply move them into their bed and ta-da! Problem solved. Wish I would've known it earlier! And secondly, I am NOT gifted at sales. 

Stranger #1: Do you have any adult bikes for sale?
Me: No, but we have some bikes you can look at and maybe I will sell them.
Stranger: What do you want for them?
Me: Oh, i can't go under $100 per bike.
Stranger: That's too much. (Stranger goes back to look at bike. Comes back.) Will you take $50 for the man's bike?
Me: Um, yeah, that sounds good.
Stranger: Will you take $50 for the other one too and throw in the lock?
Me: Sure, why not. That sounds great.

Stranger #2: How much is this TV?
My friend:  10 dollars. (Stranger reaches into pocket to pull out money.)
Me: Oh, 5 is good. (Friend shoots me evil glance.) 

Stranger #3: How much is this book, that outfit, these two toys, (etc. etc.)
Me: Let's say $3? (Stranger pulls out money.) Oh, make it $2, that's fine.
My friend: Karen, you need to sit down and just watch.

Seriously, had I not shut-up, I may have started paying people to take the stuff they wanted!

Anyway, I must go get some much needed sleep. It has been a crazy weekend and I used up the last of my energy jumping up and down during the Steelers game today (which kept the kids highly entertained and by the end, even little Liam was crazily clapping and bouncing in excitement!) 

Till next time, stay clean! (If the stench doesn't get you, the sugar high will! Neither are worth it!)



Turkeys, Chickens, Rats, oh my!

"Mom, next time we see a rat in our house we should catch it and put it in a box so I can take it into school for show and tell."

I can see it now: Aidan carrying in a rat to show his class and telling them all about how it was living in our grill until his dad went out there to make some dinner and ACK! it jumped out at him. Actually, it was a mouse but it was a pretty darn big mouse, easily mistakable as a rat. And it was as scared as Kurt if not more....of course, you would be too if your home was about to ignite. (If you are ever over for dinner, beware of the burgers....)

Madeline loves Uh, and by Uh I am referring to the nickname she has affectionately given to Liam. No, really, she calls him Uh. She came in the other day when Liam was fussing and we heard her say, "Oh, poor Uuuuh, he's sad." When we questioned her she simply replied, "That's what I call him...Uh."

I look forward to explaining to the next inquirer that no, she doesn't have a rare memory disorder ("My little brother's name is Uuuuuh.") or some strange speech impediment ("Hi Uh! Uh, I got your feet. No, Uuuuh. Uh, smile!") How she came up with this one, we just don't know, but the other day we heard him repeating his new name and thought maybe we oughta try something else out. She came up with Huuuubit....we're thinking we'll stick with Uh.

If you ever need to make a quick 5 minute trip into a 30 minute debacle complete with blood and tears, take Lily with you, top her off with a loving, five-year old brother, add a fence, some pavement and voila! Madeline, Lily and I were running a little later than usual to pick up Aidan's so we had to walk out to the playground to fetch him. Upon seeing us, he ran up to give Lily a hug, picked her up off the ground, lost his balance and practically body slammed her into the rod iron fence, nose first. She came up with a sweet little impression OF THE FENCE on the side of her gushing nose. As the playground staff went to get me a bundle of paper towels (or were they thin strips of cardboard?) I held Lily until she was done crying (about 10 seconds) and then attempted to get her to stay still enough for me to apply pressure to stop the bleeding....because, you know, two-year olds are notoriously fond of holding still while having a bruised nose squeezed. Meanwhile, Aidan limped around as if his world were completely shattered because he had a microscopic speck of blood on his knee from the fall. I walked them into the classroom to retrieve Aidan's things when one of his classmates noticed the scene and as his eyes widened to the size of half dollars he exclaimed: "OH MY GOSH! That's REALLY bad!"

Thanks kid; next time why don't you tell them Santa isn't coming because he got eaten by the monster reindeer hiding under their bed!

Looking down at the blood smeared across my entire upper body I replied, "It's not as bad as it looks," while Aidan immediately took to dragging his leg behind him and swollen nosed Lily squirmed away from me trailing blood down her shirt and behind her, all the way out the classroom. Good times!

I had it in my mind that we wouldn't have turkey this year at Thanksgiving, mainly because no one likes it. And since we all of a sudden have found ourselves in the midst of yet another move across the country (more on that later), Kurt wanted me to make it as easy as possible. No turkey, I declared.

"But Moooooom, EVERYONE has turkey at Thanksgiving!" Madeline insisted.

"We have to have a turkey, Mom," Aidan agreed.

I caved. We roasted a little 10 lb turkey, and to "make it easy" I bought a ready-to-eat spiral-cut ham, three slices of bakery pie and pre-made mashed potatoes. But then I couldn't bare to leave out all the other sides so I also made a green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry salad, and my favorite sweet potato casserole. The only one who really ate the turkey? Liam. Outside of the mashed potatoes that Lily devoured, and the ENTIRE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE sitting in my tummy, everyone else ate Ham and Ham alone. (And pie of course....because Tami made it....) Reciting my inherited lines after the 10 minute meal I said, "I'm not doing this again." So, next year I'm sticking with chicken. We all like chicken and they don't take as much room in the fridge. I suppose I should start fattening them up now....