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Instagram Vs. Real Gram Thanksgiving

Vacations are great. Vacations are also great for Instagram. Everything is more grammable on vacation. This Colorado vacation was no exception, but it was also really begging for a Thanksgiving Instagram vs. Real Gram breakdown because #balance.

We all love a good Instagram photo – from flatlays of pies, to beautiful sunsets, to my personal favorite – adorable children being awesome. Of course, these pictures never tell the full story though, because we don’t gram 3 AM wakeups, or mall meltdowns, or vomit. We really, really don’t gram vomit.

And I promise I’m not about to fill this post with pictures like that, but I will reveal five of the stories behind the pretty pictures because well, that’s a lot funnier.

Thanksgiving Instagram Moment 1

We started the week in Colorado spending time with my brother and sister in law at their new house. We played with the dogs, made pizza, went to the park, and it was absolutely lovely. It also produced this picture.

Holding Hands

Thanksgiving Real Gram Moment 1

We were walking back from the park and both kids wanted to walk instead of being carried. Which was fine because Glen and I do not produce featherweights.

But also, they are toddlers. Who like to run.

So when Jack took Norah’s hand because she was veering off into a pricker bush, we strongly encouraged the arrangement. It also kept Jack from running down the street without the requisite “look both ways before crossing the road” pause because little sister’s slightly shorter legs were slowing him down.

I just wish this moment captured in time lasted more than 3 minutes.

Thanksgiving Instagram Moment 2

The next day we went to see Santa at the mall. Seeing Santa in Colorado is awesome because the real Santa is there. Not one of his helpers, the real guy. There must be a good direct flight from the North Pole or something because he comes every year.

It was adorable, Jack was in awe, Norah didn’t cry, and we got this picture. The Magic of Christmas!

Meeting Santa

Thanksgiving Real Gram Moment 2

That is really how it went down with the man in red, but a toddler who will not be named totally lost all of his or her chill an hour later after some time at the mall play space.

Hungry, tired, angry, and jet-lagged, said toddler plopped him or herself down in the middle of the mall refusing to move. I won this battle because I’m REAL strong, but we left a row of judgey mall kiosk workers in our wake.

Thanksgiving Instagram Moment 3

Then we went up into the mountains to Glen’s grandparents’ house and the family cattle ranch.

I’m a bit of a city suburban slicker but I’ll get better at ranching someday. Jack, on the other hand, was a natural. Pitching hay to the cows, driving the tractor, riding the four-wheeler – the kid had it down.


Thanksgiving Real Gram Moment 3

All of that is true. However, not pictured is Jack’s car sickness on the way to the ranch which was merely vomit number 1 of the day. Or Norah’s altitude sickness which was vomit 2 of the day.

Never have I ever been covered in so much vomit. As in “I had to borrow my father-in-law’s jeans” covered.

Which actually fit fine. So there’s that.

Thanksgiving Instagram Moment 4

On Thanksgiving, Jack helped his Grandma make biscuits for breakfast. If you haven’t had a good western breakfast of biscuits and gravy then you are missing out. I was VERY confused by this meal the first time I had it a decade ago but I’m on board now. And Jack helping made it all the more wonderful.


Thanksgiving Real Gram Moment 4

Not pictured, me. Definitely not me because Norah was up with a cold and teething ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I looked like I had been punched in the face. By Ronda Rousey. Because Norah punched me in the face and she’s strong.

Also not pictured, Glen. For similar reasons but he can pull off no sleep much better than I can. #Superman

Also not pictured, Norah. Because she didn’t feel well at all and hated everything. Fair enough. It’s hard to be 1.

Thanksgiving Instagram Moment 5

The best part of the trip, seeing the kids play with all their cousins. All 7 of them were together which doesn’t happen often since we are scattered around the country. It was like they just saw each other yesterday though. It’s such a special relationship and produced pictures like these.

Thanksgiving Real Gram Moment 5

Were there toy squabbles? Sure. Was there some group think that resulted in questionable choices? Of course. But all in all, it really was just like that. All the love.

The Real Gram Lessons Learned

Here’s where we’ll bring my dear diary style post back to some universal lessons.

  1. Everyone is filtering their lives on social media. And that includes LinkedIn! For your family, your career, and everything in between – do not worry if it’s not picture perfect. No one’s is!
  2. Find the funny in the hard. Working motherhood is a constant exercise in finding the humor when things go wrong. With all those balls in the air, something is going to go wrong, pretty much always. Try to keep your sense of humor.
  3. Bring extra pants. Moms are pros at packing extra items for their children, but we neglect ourselves a lot of the time. Take the time to take care of you too, and yes, bring some extra pants.

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  1. I can relate to this so much! Thank you for bringing reality to all of the picture perfect families out there. We all need a reminder every once in a while that the “Pinterest Perfect Moms” don’t really exist!

  2. Both grams were delightful, though Real grams might have been rather less delightful for you! Still, I look back on those toddler days with fondness and a great deal of gratitude that my children are now fully grown adults. Thanks for the great post!

  3. Finding a balance is so important! Most of my life is a real gram so creating those Instagram moments takes a lot of editing on my part.

  4. I love this! I read in a magazine once that a photo can tell as many stories as it can hide. Kids are fun and totally unpredictable!

  5. wow! This is so awesome. such a great memory, reminds me so much of my days as a kid, everybody looks so happy. then i will prefer to stay in the kitchen and help grand ma out. This picture speaks a thousand words.

  6. Oh my goodness! I am cracking up laughing reading the real grams. #4 I can relate to Ive been punched by my toddler and they are surprisingly strong lol

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