The next few days were pretty relaxed. I hung out at the house mostly or took the kids over to see my mom. Teene came over in the evenings to hang out with us. I got some good work done on the advent calendar and Christmas presents. Claire got to feed carrots to a horse and harass a cat. So it was good times for her too. (She now tries to feed carrots to her plastic rocking horse.) Friday, Alann came into town. Yay! I picked him up at the airport and left the kids at the house with Nana and Jim. We went to the house and saw the kids for about an hour, then we went out to dinner. It was a nice little date. I guess it counted as our anniversary dinner since we hadn't had one yet. Claire gave the epic sad face when Daddy left her again. She stood in the window with her pout going, and her hand over her mouth, and tears running down her face. If it wasn't so hilarious it would be rather pathetic. But she apparently calmed down and had a fun time. Alex slept the whole time we were gone so my mom had it easy.
Saturday was my big sister's bridal shower. Yay! It was a lot of fun. I got to talk to my aunt and see my sisters again. Also, I'm really happy for my sister getting married. It's about time. =) (JK Teene. Love you!) I left the kids home with Alann and got to have a break after seeing them pretty much non-stop for 5 days or so. Being a SAHM, I do see them an awful lot, but Alann at least comes home and can spend time with them and give me a little time to myself. I said to Teene while we were there "the advantage of being a single mom is that you HAVE to work, so you don't have to be the only one all the time. Sometimes they are in daycare." It sounds harsh, but it's true. Any stay at home parent (dads too) whose better half works way too much or travels a lot can understand. After a while, you just wish for a break. You want to run to the store by yourself or leave the house after dark for some reason without hiring a baby sitter. I felt that way a lot with Alann in school and working. I was single-moming it with no break and it is exhausting. Remind me again why I wanted to stay home with my kids instead of work? Just kidding, I wouldn't trade it.
Sunday, we got to go to church! Yay! We hadn't been in weeks, literally. Claire was too sick before we left and we missed the first week we were in Phoenix. So it was good. We sat with the Woods and Claire and Alex behaved mostly. Then we headed out after sacrament. I don't know why it makes me so nervous to send Claire to nursery in a different ward. At that time, she had just started being happy about being left, instead of crying every time, so maybe I just didn't want to "break" that by sending her in, having her expect to see people she knows, and not knowing anyone? Or maybe it's my own shyness and fear of meeting new people that I am projecting on her. Either way, we headed back home and the kids went straight down for naps, so it wasn't a bad thing that we left. Our timing was off pretty much the whole time we were out there. It wasn't terrible, as it was only an hour earlier, but Alex got up at 7am every day and wanted to nap before 10. Since we've been home, he is getting up before 7, but that's another post. After naps, we headed over to the Woods house for some fun and family time. I call them family. They call me daughter. Not that I love my biological family any less, but they are important to me, so it is nice that I can spend time with them too. We checked out their chickens, played in the backyard a bit, and I helped Veda make dinner. While I was standing at the table making shortbread for dessert, Claire came over to me and started saying "bug, bug bug" and pointed at my leg. I look down, sure enough, there is a bug on my pant leg! I realize it is a bee. I have never been stung but given my allergic reaction to ants, I am likely allergic to bees, so I avoid them. I calmly (as I can) walk to the front door, Claire following me the whole way yelling "bug bug bug!", go outside, find a stick, and try to brush it off. It won't get off, so I smack it off with my hand, grab Claire (who had come out with Angelique) and the three of us run back inside before the bee gets off the ground and tries to sting someone. I thanked Claire for telling me there was a bug on me and she seemed very proud of herself. I was proud of myself for handling it rather calmly. Later, I was standing there talking and another bee flew into my hair. They had just cut the palm trees outside, so the bees were flying around and a few had gotten in the house. Why they kept attacking me I don't know. We had a delightful dinner and then we had to get home and you guessed it- put the kids to bed. My life revolves around bedtime.
Monday, we went up to visit my elderly grandma. She lives up north about an hour from our house. It's always fun to go see her. She likes to watch the kids run around and we get to do errands for her. It's amazing she is still on her own really. She's over 90. But she likes her independence. Can't say I blame her. I would love to see more of her. Claire and Alex were well behaved and Alex showed her what a big boy he was- he ate pickles for lunch and crawled around the living room to his heart's content, slobbering on picture frames and remote controls and anything else at his level. Claire was a general ham/ drama queen. As we tried to take pictures, she was getting really tired. As soon as someone said "say cheese" or "smile" she would sigh melodramatically and fall face first onto the floor. Then get up, stand in her place again and wait for the next "smile". It was hilarious. She slept the whole way home, not surprisingly.
Tuesday we came home. That was an adventure. It was nice having Alann there and not having to do it myself again. Our first flight was slightly delayed, which only worried me because we had less than an hour layover with a plane change. Claire was less dramatic about her seat being gone. Then we went in the "ky" (always said while pointing upwards and cocking your head). The flights weren't bad (that I remember anyway). We made it to our plane change and got home. That's when the fun started. When we picked up our bags and car seats in STL, Claire (can you tell who is the observant one in the family?) kept pulling at Alex's car seat bag and asking me about it. I just said "yes seat yes seat" until I finally looked. There was a piece floating around inside the plastic bag. One of the lock off levers had been broken. Mistake #1- we decided to just leave. It was late. Kids were tired. We didn't report it immediately. Now I am dealing with Southwest telling me they don't care because I didn't report it immediately. If you ever have broken luggage, don't assume there is something reasonable like a 24 hour window for reporting. Chances are, it's much much less. I did call the very next day, but so far, the news has not been good. As long as we always use latch to install the seat, it really isn't a problem. But it is irritating because it's a brand new seat. I haven't complained about any of the other damage that I have noticed our bags taking on- rips, tears, broken handles. But this is serious. It's a $275 seat. So hopefully, we will win. I've got another letter going out tomorrow. Everything has to be in writing. I think it's just another way to make people give up because it is too hard to get a good answer.
So that was basically the trip. It was a lot of fun. I think I'll be doing a similar trip in March for my sister's wedding- me go out earlier and Alann come later. It worked out pretty well. I'm sure my sisters will be a lot busier though, and probably won't have much time for us, so it might not be as long, but I would still like to do some things out there- go through my mom's storage shed and find the barbie box and my tonka truck. (No Mom, it's not the one in the back room. Mine is a lot less yellow because I left it outside a lot because I played with it a lot.) Have my kids meet my dad. Yes, they have never met. I feel bad about it, but I won't go into the situation. I'm not up for the guilt at the moment. (Speaking of, I don't think I got a christmas card from him this year. Or a birthday card...)