We've had so much going on lately with lots of visitors.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we had Craig and Sarah and Brooklyn drop in for a quick visit. Claire loved playing with Brooky.
For Thanksgiving, we had the missionaries over and Alann's boss and his family. It was a lot of fun. We smoked the turkey and the kids actually ate dinner with us this time. Last year they slept through it. We had some fun times hanging out with Mike and Tracy and Claire had fun playing with their kids.
Entirely too quickly after that, Mark and Debbie came to visit. We had a quick visit to Indianapolis to visit Alann's grandparents and we met up with Steph and Danny and their kids. Alann tried to take us to Chicago instead of Indianapolis, but we made it there eventually. Claire had a good time playing with Andrew, though I'm not sure he enjoyed it as much as she did. We went to the children's museum again and the kids had so much fun they were exhausted by the time we left. We drove home Sunday and Grandma and Grandpa stayed for the rest of the week and the kids just loved it. First thing in the morning, Claire would come see me and then immediately go downstairs to find Grandma and Grandpa.
While we had free babysitters, Alann and I decided to go on an anniversary overnight. We booked a hotel room in St. Louis and had a fun time. Our hotel was connected to a casino, so we spent some time over there. We came out about even. Alann was definitely the better player than me. The worst part was the smoke. Ugh. It was so thick in there. It was gross. I haven't had that much secondhand smoke in a LONG time. Then the next morning we ate at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and they had a smoking section too. It was awful. I hadn't worn my coat to the casino since everything was indoors, but I wore it to Cracker Barrel and it smelled awful too. I thought St. Louis had passed a new ordinance banning smoking but apparently we were in the wrong county or something.
After Grandma and Grandpa left, a short week later we had a visit from Aunt Amy. Claire was again so excited. She loves going to the airport. Every time we go, she reminds me that she doesn't have her suitcase. Then we have to talk about how we don't have tickets and can't get on the plane. Anyway, we didn't do anything too exciting while she was here, but we did make cookies. Claire keeps talking about that. Alex warmed up to Amy eventually, though he still wouldn't let her hold him. The day after she left, Claire painted her another picture to take home with her. She didn't quite understand that she wasn't coming back to our house.
I did get to book some tickets to Arizona. We are very excited. It's funny. I booked them so close to the travel dates that Southwest sent their normal "your trip is right around the corner" email the same day I booked them. I made the mistake of telling Claire as soon as I booked them. She has been asking constantly about going to see Aunt Amy and flying on the airplane. So I took a calendar and drew on the day that we are flying a little airplane. And I tried to explain that each day was a square and we would mark one off every day. She colored on all the days. So I took a highlighter and colored today. I told her when we colored the plane, we could go. She took the highlighter when I wasn't looking and colored the airplane. Then she tells me that we can't get on the airplane without our suitcases and we haven't packed our suitcases. Luckily, we can't get on the airplane at night, so she quits asking when the sun goes down. I tried to tell her we had to open presents first. She told me we didn't need presents. Oh the things she comes up with sometimes. She does tell me what we need to pack though- her panties, clothes, jammies, and snacks. We've got the important stuff covered.
So now we have Christmas coming up, and then we are going to Phoenix for a few weeks in January. I don't think I blogged about this. A few months ago I wanted to book tickets to Phoenix. Southwest was having a decent sale. I looked at Christmas or January flights and it just didn't work out. I almost forgot about the sale, got up to book flights, and my credit card wouldn't go through, despite having space. I was so upset. I prayed about it and it still didn't work. I took it as a sign that I must not be meant to go. It was really depressing. But I trusted that the Lord would take care of us no matter what. I got an email last week that Southwest was having a 50% off sale. I didn't book it. Then I got another 50% off sale notice this week. After talking to Alann, we decided that it must be right. I booked the flights for me and the kids. (Ok, kid. I only have to pay for Claire right now.) For $300, I got the same flights that would have cost me almost $700. I am quite grateful. We haven't been out to visit since March. I'm definitely looking forward, even if it's very quickly coming up.
Now that the kids' Christmas presents are taken care of, I'm hoping to make them some backpacks for the flight. Claire has one, but it's very small. It's actually a harness disguised as a backpack. But I can't fit too much stuff in it. Every time we fly I try to, but it just doesn't hold enough toys to keep her occupied. So I'm hoping I can get some backpacks made for them before the flight. It shouldn't be too difficult, I hope. I already had a backpack for alex planned, so I've got the pattern and all the hard thinking stuff done. It's just finding the time to actually make them.