Finally, an update now that Noni has returned to California and we are back to our normal, boring lives :-) We had a great visit with my mom - she was here from 9/22-9/29. Hannah was so excited the day we were going to pick her up, that all she could do when we asked her who was coming was just laugh and giggle. It was very cute. Hannah and her Noni are very close and it was a joy to see them together again.
We had fun showing mom our apartment and having her involved in a little bit of our life here. On her first day here we actually bought a dining table and chairs. Up to that point, we were eating meals at our coffee table, but that was getting old. I saw a set in a store ad for only $100 - the table and four chairs. The table's two leaves both drop down and the chairs store inside, so it has a very small footprint - perfect for our small apartment.
The next day was Sunday. We all attended church together and that evening we met my cousin Erin and her boyfriend Paul at a local restaurant (Pujols 5, created by Cardinals player Albert Pujols). Monday, mom went with Hannah and me to Hannah's counseling appointment, then we went to the Turtle Playground and the St. Louis Zoo. That night mom went with me to my "Boxes" Bible study.
Tuesday was our trip to The Magic House - everyone had a great time, including Bethie! They have a huge water table there, where kids can pour, squirt, and play with water. Mom noticed that they have cut-out seats for babies to sit in and splash and play in the water too. Bethie ended up with water all over her face and head! It was really cute and I'll post pictures later. We came home for a short rest before we joined many other seminary families for dinner in the dining hall for family night.
On Wednesday, the girls and mom and I drove out to Columbia, MO to visit a friend from Bakersfield. Sandy is originally from Missouri, lived in CA for a while, and moved back to MO three years ago. We met Sandy for lunch at D. Rowe's, met her "Auntie M," walked around Shelter Gardens, and headed home. Then it was back out (with Don) for dinner at Fitz's in U City.
Thursday, it was time for Hannah to go to preschool. Mom, Bethie, and I went shopping for new curtains after dropping Hannah off. That evening I had Bible study again and while I was gone, my great uncle and aunt (Al & Jane, my dad's aunt and uncle) arrived. They were on a brief vacation (they live in Minnesota) and it worked out great for them to visit St. Louis and see us and mom while she was here. The next morning (Friday), we all went to chapel together here on campus and when Don went back to class, the rest of us went to Grant's Farm. It was our first visit and a lot of fun. It's owned by Anheuser-Busch and it's like a small zoo. We saw zebras, bison, long horn cattle, mountain goats, elephants, camels, llamas, bald eagles, the famous Clydesdales, and Hannah survived feeding the billy goats (and has a T-shirt to prove it!) We have cute pictures from that trip too and I'll them post sometime soon. That evening we all attended the Friday bar-b-que here on campus together and got to introduce the family to a few more of our new friends.
Way too quickly, that brought us to Saturday, and mom had to return home. I told her that I wish I had scheduled in a little more down time, because being so busy made her visit seem to go by so much faster. (We think she's going to return in early December - we'll probably be snowed in and won't be able to leave the house - just the thing to make the visit drag along!) It was great having her here - she's such a help. She slides into our routine and just knows what to do that helps the most. Hannah behaved great the whole time mom was here. Unfortunately, the separation was hard again. The night mom left (last night), it took Hannah over two hours to fall asleep. Then she woke up early this morning and had a pretty major meltdown before church. And after church, she never took a nap. It seems like she's really reluctant to be alone in her room. So please keep her (and us) in your prayers. This move and all the transition has been really hard on our little three-year-old!
And keep Don in your prayers too. Tomorrow begins week 5 of Greek - on Friday he'll be halfway through. His mid-term is on Thursday, so please pray for focused study time and for a good grade. I'm sure he'll post an update as soon as he gets his grade, if not before.
Thanks for reading and for all your prayers. Love and God's blessings to all,
Stacye, Don, Hannah, & Elizabeth