Emma and Eli: November 2015

November ushers us into the holidays as we look towards Thanksgiving and then ultimately to Christmas.  The Strange crew was more than ready for a change of pace and some family time.  In order to make sure we didn’t miss out, we quickly made plans for the week we would have off for Thanksgiving and then got ready to have a great November!
A lot of November was spent at home just hanging out with each other, playing with toys, playing outside (thanks to the awesome weather!), and getting ourselves organized for the holidays.  We were so honored to have Clint’s Uncle Billy come for a visit when he attended the Veteran’s Day program at NCCS.  What a treasure to have Uncle Billy’s influence in the life of our family!  Speaking of NCCS, the month of November is always a lot of fun at school because we have Fall Festival.  Emma enjoyed getting her face painted and Eli’s claim to fame was playing all the games and jumping on the inflatables.  Lots of fun with our school friends!
Emma had another art show at school and the Strange 4 enjoyed going to see her art on display.  One of our favorite parts of November is Emma’s birthday and we had a lot of fun celebrating our sweet 7 year old!  Emma’s best friend Ella spent the night the Friday of Emma’s birthday weekend.  Emma’s birthday was Sunday morning and we started the day with the largest donut you could imagine at Paradise Donuts.  Emma picked LaParilla for lunch so she could have Happy Birthday sung to her with the sombrero and the free sopapillas.  That’s my girl!  Emma received several really special gifts and Clint and I loved getting to eat lunch with her at school.  It was precious to see how excited Eli was about Emma’s special day!
Clint’s grandfather passed away in the middle of November.  Pawpaw had been sick for almost 2 years and it was definitely a blessing that he wasn’t going to continue to get worse. In the time that Clint and I have been together, we have lost my grandmother, two of Clint’s grandmothers, and his grandfather.  Neither of us have any living grandparents any longer, but we do have lots of fond memories that we will treasure.  I was extremely honored that Aunt Patti asked me to do PawPaw’s funeral.  Definitely a special time as we gathered to celebrate PawPaw’s life and to remind one another to keep our focus on Jesus Christ and our relationships with each other.  It’s never fun to say goodbye, but as Christians, we live with hope and that is extremely comforting during times of loss.
We are extremely grateful that we have the whole week of Thanksgiving off of school.  This year we headed up to the mountains for a few days with the Bitners.  We’ve been friends with them for almost 15 years and it is a blast to watch Emma and Jack growing up together!  James and Eli get along pretty well too!  We rented a cool cabin in Pigeon Forge and headed up ready for fun and relaxation.  We went to Dollywood the first night to see the lights and ride some rides.  We went back the next day to ride all the rest of the rides and stayed late enough to see the lights again. It was definitely cold…but super fun!  On Monday we got up and rode into Gatlinburg to walk around, eat, and hang out.  What a beautiful day! It was sunny and fairly warm.  Everything looked really beautiful all decorated for Christmas.  We headed home on Tuesday and then Emma and I spent all day Wednesday working on getting the food prepared for Thanksgiving.
Clint’s mom came down for Thanksgiving and it was just her and the Strange 4.  We had a great time and enjoyed the 65 degree weather!      There aren’t a lot of places where you can wear shorts and play outside on Thanksgiving…but I hope always to live in that type of climate!  After Thanksgiving we stayed up late and had a great time decorating for Christmas.  That weekend we had fun watching Bama beat Auburn and were sad when Tech lost to Georgia…but such is the life of a Tech fan unfortunately.  The highlight of the weekend after Thanksgiving was heading to Holiday in the Park at Six Flags with our friends the Clarks.  We had a lot of fun seeing all of the Christmas decorations and trying out some new rides.  We will definitely be going back soon!
November was a great warmup for December. We are excited for what lies ahead in December as we celebrate the gift of our Savior!
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