A Thanksgiving to Remember and Forget

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we ventured to phoenix, arizona to spend 8 days hanging out with my side of the family for thanksgiving 2017!

the trip started out SO great! although only one of us got upgraded to first class, i totally sat in the back and got a ton of work done while those two were fancy at the front of the plane.

get this: last year my grandparents were checking out airbnbs near my sister’s house and they found one they thought was close. they sent it to her and as she clicked through the photos she realized the house was literally her next door neighbor! isn’t that wild?! they rented it, loved it so they rented it again this year!

look at this little oasis!

the plan was to lounge by the pool, eat all the delicious food, play cards and watch the cousins play near each other!

that happened for the first few days of our trip (*queue foreshadowing music). so let’s start there.

it can be hard to corral 10 adults and two toddlers so we decided the zoo would be a good idea!

the phoenix zoo is a really pretty zoo with lots of shade and they are currently featuring dinosaurs! good thing my dad got the girl’s matching-color-changing-dino-t-shirts! we don’t have a family crest but if we did, it would be striped.

my niece elizabeth started toddling around in october and atlas has been more than fine crawling. since they spent a week together, atlas suddenly wants to walk all the time and often requests to ‘wa’ and grabs your hand to stroll her around. it’s adorable.

my sweet nana turns 82 in a few days but since we are all together, we celebrated her birthday later that night!

as i’ve previously mentioned in my instastories, my husband is a super creative person but he also is a minimalist. his new creative outlet is making cakes, because they disappear – in theory. however, it’s not actually minimalistic because the amount of cake shit you can purchase is absurd (and he made me pack three cake pans in my suitcase!)

he does get full credit for making some epic cakes though (remember atlas’ snitch cake)! check this one out he made for nana’s birthday:

we also found amazing unicorn decorations (75% off) at macy’s the day before we left so double score!

so many great and inappropriate puns come along with the ever elusive unicorn horn.

we bid adieu to my uncle dan and cousin jaclyn the next morning. i then spent my morning counting down the hours until atlas took her nap so i could do this:

it was as glorious as it looks. i’ve seen those big floaties around the interweb and they really are amazing.

ravery was kind and gave all the ‘real adults’ a break and cooked his first full thanksgiving meal for all of us (minus the stuffing and desserts)!

my sister and i did the stuffing (unless it didn’t turn out, then she did the stuffing by herself). since she lives next door to where we stayed, she saw my outfits and would go and change. she thinks she’s sooooo funny.

we cleaned up and then forced the girls to take lots of photos because HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!

the ever talented nana painted those chairs for the girls when we went to KCMO to see the eclipse in totality! i need to remember to get a picture without them sitting on them because she painted their names on them and then little girls sitting on a moon! she’s seriously so talented. i mean, she’s illustrated a children’s book for cryin’ out loud!

look at this feast – it was so so so good! my sister is totally that annoying pinterest mom that actually does things that turn out super well. i know. remember, she also experienced ‘bursts of joy’ instead of anger while pregnant. she made that pumpkin pie with the turkey on it from scratch. i aspire to be like her one day.

the dinner was so so good and we had a really fun night together…until we didn’t.

at about 1am, ravery started getting violently sick. my first thought was “omg. my husband poisoned everyone at thanksgiving dinner!!!!!!” i didn’t feel great in the morning but i chalked it up to my anxiety because i absolutely deplore vomit and anything to do with it.

everyone else felt fine but he was still getting super sick so we figured maybe he got some raw turkey juice somehow in his mouth and had food poisoning. i am a terrible wife when he’s sick to his stomach because i flee. like truly, i run away.

i stood at the door later in the morning and asked how he was doing. he said his back was hurting so bad so i called the nurse advice line. she could hear him in the background and said she thought he was so dehydrated his kidneys were starting to not function correctly. we needed to get to an urgent care.

my mom took atlas because thankful no one else was sick except him (and me, but i assumed it was my anxiety) and my papa drove us to urgent care. i sat in the backseat shaking the whole time afraid he was going to throw up in the car and i would have to open the door and roll out to get away from it.

after a shitshow at urgent care (never go to fastmed urgent care, they were awful), he got sent to the emergency room! it was so scary and i felt so horrible for him. they gave him IV fluids, morphine and more anti-nausea medicine.

how his hair still looks amazing is beside me.

he finally got what he needed after a few hours and we headed back home. thankfully everyone was still feeling good so we assumed it was food poisoning for him. oh how wrong we were. about 20 minutes after we got home, it hit me and it was horrendous.

my mom took atlas in her room for the night so we could both sleep and be sick. then i woke up about 2:30am and heard atlas crying. i went down to check on them and my poor mom was sick herself while dealing with a sick atlas!!!!

it continued to knock everyone out one by one. i met my sister in between the houses at 3:30am with anti-nausea pills for her. it. was. terrible.

somehow, nana stayed healthy through it all and so did my niece and brother-in-law in the other house. no one could eat for days and i am still unsure if i can eat thanksgiving ever again. it took me an hour to convince myself to eat one saltine on day two. that’s the part of thanksgiving we all want to forget.

thankfully no one else got it as bad as ravery so we avoided more hospital trips and my stepdad didn’t get hit until after his 14 hour drive home!

ravery is relieved he didn’t give everyone food poisoning because i can assure you we would never let him live that down (or eat anything he cooked again)!

we at least all finally feel better now (except me, ravery and atlas all have horrible colds now – how is that even fair?!) the cousins got to love on each other a little more too.

we were very grateful to sleep in our own beds last night and i will be spending the rest of the day rewashing all of our clothes just to make sure no germs clung on to anything.

all in all, it was definitely a thanksgiving to remember but i do hope to forget about four days of this trip as well. be well and wash your hands!

how was your thanksgiving? have you ever experienced a mass sickness like this (no details please)?


  1. Penny

    November 29, 2017 at 10:27 am

    omg i am sooooo sorry you all got so sick. stomach flu is just the worst. but you have some wonderful memories and great pictures before all of that awfulness. the girls are just adorable, the cake and birthday celebration looked fun. by the way, thank you so much for my flowers. they are beautiful and are still doing great. that was such a nice surprise for me on thanksgiving morning. i also liked reading your 60 things to be thankful for. it certainly helped me remember all the things i am also thankful for. i have never experienced mass sickness, but i know it happens. hopefully, it will never happen again. i always love your wednesday blogs…. thank you and love and hugs to all of you!

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:43 am

      it was one of the worst experience of my life, penny! so bad and gross and ugh.

      you’re right though, we had other fun memories before it all happened and it makes us all extra grateful for our good health otherwise! glad you enjoyed your flowers – yay! i appreciate you reading and for commenting penny – glad you are in our life!

  2. Debra McKee

    November 29, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I am so glad you all are feeling better. We so missed spending time with you. Take care and we will catch you next time. Love and hugs to you all.

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:42 am

      we were sooooo bummed not to be able to see you, debra! i was really looking forward to it and i wanted to go to your store too! ugh. next time! xoxo

  3. Elyse @ Just Murrayed

    November 29, 2017 at 11:04 am

    OMG! My literal nightmare. Hope you’re feeling better! I’ll just say that this has happened to me apparently my entire family got food poisioning but I was about Atlas’ age so I don’t remember that awfulness.

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

      elyse. it was truly our literal worst nightmare. i may need therapy for it (actually i really think i might because i don’t know how to deal with atlas’ vomit). whew i am glad you don’t remember your whole family getting food poisoning – yikes!

  4. Paula Howley

    November 29, 2017 at 11:39 am

    So what was it? Just a virus? What a nightmare!!!!
    All 3 of us were down last month for 4 days in bed and then it took another week and a half until I could feel like eating again. Bloody awful.

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:39 am

      the doc first said it could be food poisoning, to which i said “great! we have a house full of people and two babies so i sure hope it is” and then she said “well…you just never really know. so hopefully no one else gets sick” then i almost got sick WHILE DRIVING but made it back to the house. uuuuugh. nightmare.

      so sorry you were all sick recently too – so so terrible! it took me about a week before i could like normal again. ugh.

  5. Charlene Maugeri

    November 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    This sounds positively terrible. I am so sorry you all had to deal with this! What did it end up being? Just a bug? Was anything officially diagnosed? It sounds like the first few days of your trip were great though!

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

      oh yeah, i guess i didn’t make that very clear! they couldn’t tell for sure so at first the doctor said it could have been food poisoning and then she added ‘unless other people start getting sick’ well we sure did….so it was a stomach virus. horrrrrible

  6. Vivien

    November 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    What a great adventure with family! That is so crazy your sister found out her neighbours’ place was on Air BNB. The pictures of their place look gorgeous!

    Agreed: those are epic cakes that Ryan makes! Wow! Is there anything he CANNOT do? Geesh!

    I’m so glad to hear you guys had a wonderful time, minus the everyone getting sick part. Oh no! My boss and I both got hit with different stomach ailments on the same day, but trust me, we were both doubled over like cooked shrimp the entire day. I’m glad you guys are on the mend (I hope). Did they ever figure out what was going on?

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

      yes vivien, ravery cannot spell very well AT ALL. and he loses his keys all the time (i often remind him of these things so he doesn’t get too cocky and assume he can do everything perfectly hahah 😉 )

      oh yuck, so sorry you and your boss got with with stomach things – yuuuuuck! we are now on the mend, thank goodness. the doctor said it was a stomach virus!

  7. Jordann

    November 29, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Norovirus is the worst. It is super contagious and lasts for a super intense hot minute. I got it when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Noa. Wiped through the whole family. My funny story with it….my brother-in-law (BIL) got it but my sister had moved the bathroom trash for her daughter. So my BIL was on the toilet needing to vomit in something and his only option was a training potty that said, ‘Good job!’ when the sensors were touched. Each throw up he got a little musical celebration and praise.

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:35 am

      oh noooooo! i do remember being grateful that neither my sister and i were pregnant when we got this last sickness so i cannot believe you had it at 6 weeks pregnant – how awful jordann! that is a pretty funny story about the training toilet hahah

  8. Jennifer Haston

    November 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    oh how horrible! I am so sorry! I did not get food poisoning but leading up to Thanksgiving I had a sinus infection so severe I needed a steroid shot, inhaler, and prednisone to knock it out. I literally thought I was dying. I hope you all get back to feeling better soon.

    Epic cakes by Ryan (new business?) 🙂 So beautiful! I love them!

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:34 am

      holy smokes – that IS an intense sinus infection, jennifer! that sounds totally miserable. glad the docs could give you some relief eventually! we are back to normal now, thank goodness! ravery is seriously goooood with those cakes but no more businesses haha

  9. Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}

    November 29, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Well up until the food poisoning I was very jealous of your trip. Your family is so cute and looks like y’all have so much fun. A si,liar thing happened when my family came in town for Leighton’s birthday. Only my mom didn’t get it and my sister was out for days. I am the same way and cannot handle vomit at all, so I was glad she was in the airbnb next door too.

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:33 am

      oh i am glaaad your sister was next door with the sickness! i didn’t know you were in the horrible club of Emetophobia (along with me and elyse from just murrayed). it’s so so bad. it sure makes parenting VERY HARD.

  10. Amberly

    November 29, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Ah man, it sounded like such a fun weekend, until the plague hit (that’s what we’ve been referring to it at our house). I’m the only one who hasn’t gotten it and Bensen got it pretty mildly. Poor Emmy was up all night heaving and I felt SO bad for her. Not fun at all!!

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:29 am

      we really were having so much fun until that awful sickness! i hope you are still feeling well, amberly! oh man, hearing that poor emmy was up all night heaving sounds so very terrible on so many levels! hope your home is well again!

  11. Joe

    November 29, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Our Thanksgiving was good. Relaxing and uneventful.

    Yes. I have experienced something similar. SK1-4 were all sick and it was my turn to stay home. Wife went to work, I fell ill 20 min later, and we collectively re-enacted THAT scene from “Stand By Me” many times throughout the day.

    When the Bible says, “They prayed for death, but death did not come,” I know what that’s like now

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

      i am glad you had a relaxing and uneventful thanksgiving, joe! i am so sorry about the previous sickness encounter and i know the exact scene you are talking about. uggggh. horrible horrible horrible!!!!!!!

  12. Audrey

    November 30, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Gee, I wonder where your sister got the bright idea to match you… HAHAHA! Your family is so much fun! And yay for Atlas seeing Elizabeth walk and being like, “Hey girl. Me, too!” Smartie-pants!
    Good Lord… what a crazy sickness experience. I’m glad Mr. WS survived! And didn’t poison everyone! I won’t lie, I laughed at the idea of you rolling out of the car 😉

    • chelsea

      December 6, 2017 at 8:27 am

      haha i know. we obviously cannot get enough of the matching! haha! it’s still too soon to even joke with mr. ws about him poisoning everyone. he googles food poisoning at least every other day still hahah. it was horrrrible