Posted by: jinniver | August 20, 2008

Things you never want to hear your pilot say…

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ve been wondering what that beeping noise you’re hearing is, it means that lightning has been sighted within 8 miles of the airport but not within 3, so we’re still good to go!”

At least that was before the shortest flight on the way home, so I only spent 30 minutes waiting to see if we were going to get hit by lightning. 

We weren’t. Even the turbulence wasn’t as bad as expected (they canceled the drink service, and Southwest usually tries to get it in no matter how short the flight is–they just shift into combat-service mode).  We were more than ready enough to get home, though, so we wouldn’t have thought of suggesting that maybe we wait out the storm a bit, just in case.

Which isn’t to say that our weekend trip wasn’t awesome, because it was.  It’s just that we’ve had quite enough traveling for awhile, especially any that involve flights with a pre-schooler and an infant.  Jeffrey traveled just fine, especially once we set him up with his mini-DVD player and a Dora/Diego/Thomas video.  Lexie traveled…better than last time.

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Our airport playground

We spent this past weekend visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and niece for my niece’s first birthday. The last time the three cousins had all been together was in February for Steve’s change of command, and Lexie had only been 3 months old and not all that interactive. So we parents were dying to see what our children were going to make of each other. Jeffrey had been clamoring to see his cousin “Baby Stella” for weeks, so we knew he was excited. And Stella loves babies, so we knew she’d enjoy seeing Lexie.

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Jeffrey “teaches” Stella how to play with one of her toys

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“Hey, that’s MY sippy cup!”

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Playing trains together

There were a few moments of awkwardness–especially between the 12-month-old and the 3-year-old who had different ideas of how “sharing” worked, but all in all they seemed to enjoy each other’s company quite a bit. And since my parents and my youngest brother were also there, none of the kids lacked for attention!

We even managed to get a very nice picture of all three cousins right before Stella’s birthday party.

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Stella, Jeffrey, and Lexie

Everything about Stella’s birthday party was as beautiful as my niece–the decorations (I had a small hand in that), the cake, and the gathering. Stella was appropriately spoiled with lots of presents from family and friends, including a beautifully hand-painted rocking chair done by her grandmother on her mom’s side.

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Stella opens a present with Mommy’s help

The next day was a special day just for the ladies on my side of the family: my mom, my sister-in-law, me, and our girls. We drove in to Chicago to the American Girl Place for lunch. My sister-in-law loves the American Girl dolls, and had already asked if she could buy my daughter her first doll. So we decided to start the girls out right.

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Lexie and Stella with 2 new friends

The lunch was so much fun. They provide little high chairs that clip to the table for your doll, but if you don’t have one (neither Stella nor Lexie does yet), there are extra dolls that you can “visit” with for lunch. The food was delicious (I’m still dreaming about that cranberry quiche) and beautifully presented–even the desert was adorable!

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An iced cookie, white cake, and chocolate mousse with cookie crumbs

And since it’s impossible to get out of that store without some sort of purchase, my sister-in-law and I debated and finally decided to start Lexie out with a Bitty Twin (slightly misnamed since you can by just one, which we did). Technically, it’s Lexie’s first birthday gift, as are all the cute outfits that my mom and sister-in-law bought for her new doll. No name yet–I’m still thinking about that one.

It was hard to leave–my family’s pretty well scattered although my brothers do actually live in the same state (just at opposite ends), and we don’t get to see each other often enough. But this time we were able to leave knowing when we’ll see each other again: Christmas at my parents’ house, this time with the whole family there!


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