Our "other" Christmas

To say our holiday trip was a whirlwind is an understatement. Here is a summary (and this is the short way of doing things...) I'm not exaggerating when I say we barely had a second to breathe in between each of the below activities:

  • Pack a bajillion suitcases and carry-ons and *just barely* fit them into the car on Wednesday night
  • Wake up at some insanely early time (2am) Thursday morning to get all family members dressed, teeth brushed, fed and loaded into the car to head for the airport where we are literally some of the first people there for our 6am flight
  • Fly Austin to Memphis - Memphis to Cincinnati - arrive 12:15pm
  • Surprised at airport by sister and her girls, picked up by my dad
  • Head to Nana and Grandpa's house
  • Unload our bajillion suitcases and escape for an hour to enjoy a kid-menu-free lunch (thanks to Grandpa for offering to watch the kiddos)
  • Hurry home, take 4 of the bigger kids to Santa's workshop at Newport on the Levee
  • Go back to Nana's and struggle to put 2 overly exhausted boys to bed
  • 9:30am appointment at Portrait Innovations to have all 9 "Pike" grand-kids photo taken (ages 5 mos, two 1-year olds, two 4-year olds, 5, 6, 7, and 9)
  • After 30 minutes and 2 separate attempts at trying to get all 9 to look! smile! quit picking your nose!, we choose the best of the worst and call it a success
  • Hurry home, get changed and ready for Hudson's baptism to be held at 1pm
  • Go to church for ceremony then to my sister's house for a little celebration
  • Send Ricky and boys down to his parents house in my mom's van - I stay in NKY at my parents for the night
  • Drive to Louisville with mom and sister for my cousin's wedding shower
  • Leave shower and get dropped off at my in-laws in Indiana
  • Change clothes and head back to Louisville for a friend's wedding
  • Get back to in-laws sometime after midnight
  • 9:30 am - meet friends and their kids at the Louisville Science Center
  • 11:30 am - meet Ricky's side of the family for lunch before our 1:00 pm appointment to have all 7 "Skees" grand-kids photo taken (ages 5 mos, two 4-year olds, two 5-year olds, 7 and 10)
  • Head back to in-laws to celebrate Ricky's birthday (a little early) and visit with 2 friends and their little girl

  • Christmas Eve! 
  • Go to church and then back to in-laws to hang with the whole Skees family
  • Exchange gifts for 3 hours (!), eat way too much food and way too much sugar, spend the rest of night praying my kids will pleasejustgotosleepalready...and then they finally do
  • Christmas morning!
  • Wake up super early, pack up our bajillion bags and drive my parents van back to their house in KY
  • Have brunch and exchange gifts with my side of the family
  • Help mom take down all Christmas decorations (they were leaving the next day for Florida for an extended period of time)

  • Help parents get on the road to Florida
  • Repack our bajillion bags and head to my sister's house for the night
  • Enlist the help of my sister's neighbor to get our family to the airport in the morning
  • Forget Aiden's glasses in my sister's bathroom - make my sister drive home, retrieve them and bring them to the airport before our flight departs (so totally NOT part of the plan...oopsy!)
  • Fly Cincinnati to Atlanta - Atlanta to Tampa
  • Get picked up by our personal chauffeurs - my parents
  • Drive 45 minutes to their condo in Clearwater Beach
  • Decide that Friday's weather looks more promising than Saturday's for our trip to DisneyWorld
  • Wake up insanely early and make the 1.5 hour drive to Orlando
  • Spend 10 hours at the happiest place on earth
  • Drive 1.5 hours back to the condo

  • Run errands with the kids while the guys watch football at a bar
  • Wake up insanely early and take Ethan hunting for shells on the beach - freeze our hineys off
  • Go to church
  • Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • Celebrate the boys' birthdays (a bit early)
  • Ricky and I make our escape -- we dump leave the kids with my parents and head for our mini-vacation 30 minutes south in Treasure Island...

  • Lots of relaxing, adult drinks, and quiet kid-free time...the rest shall remain between us :)

  • Get picked up once again by our personal chauffeur and head back to reality
  • Drop our bags at the condo and take the kids for a picnic lunch on the beach
  • Go on a 2 hour pirate ship cruise with the boys
  • Spend the rest of the evening packing our bajillion bags (and arrange to ship all our extra goodies we've accumulated on the trip back to Texas in big boxes)
  • Escape for dinner and a movie with my mom

  • Finish packing
  • Take the kids to Tampa's children's museum (it is AWESOME by the way)
  • Meet Uncle Kenny and Mary Alice for dinner - our first time eating Thai
  • Drive back to Clearwater Beach

DAY SIXTEEN - Final Day!
  • Eat breakfast, load van, head to airport
  • Fly Tampa to Atlanta - Atlanta to Austin
  • Take shuttle and our bajillion bags to our car in long-term parking, car battery deader than a doornail
  • Get the battery jumped and drive 40 minutes home sweet freakin' home
Yes, folks. That was our trip. We were happy to be able to see so many people and do so many things but MAN ALMIGHTY we are pooped. 

It's time to get back into a routine.

And to unpack our bajillion bags...



  1. I'm exhausted just reading that schedule! Wow! That is a whole lot of fun packed into those days. How was the pirate ship with the boys? We really want to take our girls next time we're in Clearwater.

  2. I'm totally exhausted after reading that and all of the days you had to wake up "insanely" early! How fun, though! It makes me teary eyed seeing how big all the kids are already. So glad you had safe travels!...And your travels aren't over yet!!!