We're back and we survived. Although not the worst trip to my in-laws, not one of the better ones. Claire spent the night before we left throwing up (Ben had the stomach virus about a week before and it's been going around school). We were about to cancel our trip, but by morning she seemed to be doing better. When I mentioned that we might not be going, the older ones were very sad and Ellie cried. I called my SIL and she said her parents were in good health and that we should still come. I was worried of sick children in the car, hotel, etc. but we went ahead.
On the way down we stopped at Rock City to enjoy their Christmas lights. We had visited this summer-first time for the kids-and they were very excited. We got very wet from rain and mist, but the kids really enjoyed themselves once again. Sunday night Trent and I got to go to the Melting Pot restaurant for a date and that was nice. We have one here, but we have to find a babysitter, pay the babysitter and pay for the Melting Pot, which is not cheap. At least down in Georgia we have free babysitters. Well, we don't have to pay them money, but it comes at a cost in other ways!
Early Monday morning Ellie was the next one to get sick. Fortunately she's older than Claire and able to aim a bit better. I stayed home with her most of the day while Trent and the kids went here and there. On Christmas Day Trent was the one who was sick and I had to take the kids, by myself, to the family part of Christmas. This would be fine if it were my family, but it's not and they never seem to really know what to do with me when Trent's not there. At least the kids had fun.
The most stressful part of the trip, other than sickness, was my MIL. She refuses to cook any meat using a meat thermometer or put any kind of leftovers away within the two hour window recommended to prevent food poisoning. Christmas dinner leftovers were left out for over 8 hours and then she proceeded to heat them up a few days later and serve them for dinner. This is where part of the stress comes in. Do I let my children eat those leftovers and take the chance of making them very ill, but not hurt her feelings (which isn't hard to do anyway) or do I put my foot down and say I will not risk my children's health?
Well, I took the risk and said a prayer. Most of the foods were not my children's favorites so they didn't eat most of them. She did make a fresh roast, but again the dilemma-no meat thermometer. Then she didn't cook it long enough so it was extremely rare and bloody. I had to microwave each of my children's meals to make sure they were safe to eat. That upset her and made her cry. UGH. She then put the roast back in the oven at 200 degrees and cooked for a long time after that, but at that temperature she was just inviting bacteria growth. After a few more hours, she asked me, "Do you think it's done?" to which I said, "I don't know. I always go by what the meat thermometer says." This is what I always tell her when she asks me if the meat (whatever she's cooking) looks done. She has a meat thermometer, I know she does, because I gave her and every other female member of my husband's family one for Christmas one year, along with literature on safe food handling practices. She still has the thermometer, just refuses to use it. When I question her about that or leaving out leftovers for extended periods of time, she just says, "Well my mother/MIL did it and we never got sick." How they manage to keep doing that and not get sick is beyond me. My husband has had severe food poisoning (from a restaurant) and I have had to witness the dehydration and seizures that accompanied it and so I am very careful!
On a happier note, here we are the day before we came home at the World of Coke in Atlanta. None of us had been to the new one they built this past year (?) so we decided to go. We were going to go to the zoo, but it had been raining and Ben didn't think that was very exciting, so we decided to go to the World of Coke instead. My children really had a fun time. Of course Ben would drink coke every living moment if we let him, so he was in heaven. Here Macy and he are waiting to go into the 4D movie:
I did manage to do a bit of knitting. Here are some socks I started working on for my daughter Ellie. They are the second pair I've ever made (well, they're not finished yet, but hopefully will be soon) and the first I've used double pointed needles. I bought two sets of sock sticks for a Christmas present for myself (so I could knit two socks at the same time) and I have already broken one of the needles-UGH! They are not cheap! The first pair of socks I made were for my husband and I used two circular needles. That was fun, but I wanted to try this way too. I'm using some kind of yarn that makes the stripes and designs for you. They are acrylic, so I don't really care for how they feel, but Ellie likes them. I just need to finish the feet and do the toes.
If you stuck with me this long, thanks. Sorry about the venting! I keep telling myself "what is one or two weeks out of the year?" and my children love going to Georgia so much. At least I won't have to go this summer, since I'll have the new baby. I stopped going when they were so young after taking Ben and the conflicts that caused (another post for another time). Trent will go with the four older ones by himself and they'll have a grand time. That means I won't have to stress for another year. :)
Here's hoping you all have a fun, non-stressful and food safe 2008!