We are back home, looking forward to sleeping in our own beds. However, we had a wonderful week. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get pictures of my dad's surprise 60th birthday and roast posted. But tonight I am too tired. My sister, mom, and I did manage to get up at - gulp - 3 a.m. and were out the door at 3:30. We got back to the house just after 7:30 after hitting Kohl's, JC Penny, Target, Sears, Staples, Shoe Carnival, Game Stop, Kirkland's, and of course McDonalds for some shopping nourishment. My sister hit a few more places after she dropped me off at home so I could feed a baby and help get our suburban loaded up.
My verdict is: if you go with others it is fun, and if you have things you definitely need to get, it is worth it, especially in a smaller town where the crowd isn't too bad. I had a few things on my Christmas list still to buy, and I was able to cross several of them off for much less $ than I had originally planned for them.
However, it means that I dozed on and off all the way home today and can't wait until Ashlynn goes to bed tonight so I can crawl in too. But I do feel a sense of accomplishment.
Lessons learned this week:
1. Chocolate meringue pie is a must for any major holiday. (Actually, I've known this for years.)
2. Everyone needs a father who has a friend with a wood-working workshop that would rival the one on New Yankee Workshop. We have some cabinets that needed new doors, and Kelly was able to go with my dad to make new ones. All we need to do is paint and attach!
3. Sometimes, a week away from home is just needed.
4. If you speak at a roast, you better be prepared with something funny or embarrassing to share about the roastee, or the MC - even if he is a pastor - will give you a hard time.
5. Never think your vehicle will somehow be less packed to the gills on the return trip, even if you are leaving behind a huge box of gifts.
6. If you need a self-esteem boost, go to the Curves in my mom's hometown. I went with her to workout three days while we were there, and the ladies there just couldn't believe that I had 6 children, that I was old enough to have six children, that I was not still in my twenties, they thought that homeschooling my kids was wonderful, etc.
7. A six year old can do a whole lotta damage at grandma's house in the course of a week. Just a few of the highlights: picture frames (knocked over, thankfully not broken), curtain rod (broken), glass lamp shade (broken), large, decorative plate from Greece (broken by a nephew who was being chased by said 6 yo), and countless bumps and bruises, usually resulting from her habit of walking in one direction while looking in another one.
8. If you are getting up at the crack of dawn, um, rather, the middle of the night to go black Friday shopping, make sure there is a Dr. Pepper in the fridge the night before, and don't just assume.
9. If you are getting up to go black Friday shopping, have a game plan. Know what you are looking at where, when everything opens, and take someone along who will stand in the checkout line while you look. Also wear comfy shoes and a sweatshirt (which I forgot to pack, and it gets cold where we were!). [By the way, I learned this because my sister is a pro at it. She knew exactly what to do and when!]
10. Make sure you actually leave for home with the baby in tow, because all the grandparents, aunts and uncles as well as cousins who have no sister will threaten to sneak off with her, especially when she spends a week smiling and flirting with everyone in the house.