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Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring Break 2014 and Easter Sunday

 On Thursday of Spring Break this year, we were able to meet up lots of family members for a day at the zoo. Edward, Amanda, Tripp, Liam, Melissa, Dylan, Brooke, Renee, Caroline, April, McCall, Amanda's mom (Wanda and her 2 granddaughters, Alexis and Laken) were all able to come and Wanda was able to hook us up with free admission and bracelets for the kids that allowed them to ride the train, the carousel, feed the giraffes and so much more!

 Maggie enjoyed feeding the giraffes as much as Riley did! She squealed with delight when it licked her hand.

 Uncle Edward (sporting his extra long beard) has a chat with the boys after lunch.

 We didn't actually see the real tiger (much to Riley's he wore his special tiger shirt just for this occasion), but this statue always makes for a fun photo op.
 The kids love to draw with their "colors" as Maggie calls them. Riley is writing a lot now. He likes to draw charts, ladders, and spell words like Nan, Pap, and Dad. Maggie loves to draw circles!

 Over Spring Break, there was a little work that needed to be done outside. Luckily, Dad had his "little helper" right beside him the whole time as they repaired the stone barricade and put down some new mulch. Riley got so excited about helping that he had trouble finishing up his lunch. What a beautiful thing to want to spend time with his dad and feel important and needed!

The day before Easter our church hosted an Easter Fest for the kids. Riley and I went together and he got to go around to nine different stations and collect plastic eggs to put in his carton that tell the Resurrection Story. I can't wait for us to start incorporating this tradition in our family the 12 days before Easter. The stations also had different multi-sensory activities like making a Resurrection Roll with crescent rolls and marshmallows to eat at the last station, writing a note of praise to Jesus, having juice and bread to remember the Last Supper, planting a seed in a garden, putting toothpicks to symbolize thorns in a crown, dying an egg, painting a rock, and seeing Ms. Leslie dressed as an angel and lighting a candle. There were Scripture verses and a short narration to go along with each activity. I really thought the event was a wonderful way to remember the Easter story and to teach it to children. Of course, Riley was most excited about opening each egg to see what candy was inside, but hopefully some of the messages sunk in as well! :) 

 On Easter morning, I made the family some cinnamon buns shaped like crosses, "stones" (like the one rolled away from Christ's tomb), and of course, bunnies. The kids enjoyed the candy and prizes in their baskets and they got an extra treat a few days earlier when Nan and Pap mailed them an Easter package complete with books, more sweet treats, and the favorite by far...a copy of Disney's Frozen DVD!

 We couldn't quite get everyone looking and smiling at the camera at the same time, but it still makes for a memorable moment. Church was packed and we ended up having to sit in chairs along the back wall. The music and message were still amazing though. After the service we got to go to Mom and Dad's for a delicious meal of ham, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, pistachio salad, rolls, deviled eggs, green beans, and 3 different delicious desserts (carrot cake, berry pie, and cake with fruit topping). Melissa, Rodger, Dylan, Brooke, and Kelly were able to join in on the festivities as well. We hid lots of Easter eggs in the backyard, played a few rounds of "What's in Your Milk" (Kelly's favorite try to make you laugh game), got to listen to the kids play the "compuno" (as Riley calls Papa's electric piano), and I got to celebrate with Kelly by giving her a belated birthday gift.

One other event that we got to do during Spring Break was visit with some of my favorite girls--Sara, Carson, and Carrie. Carson's daughters (Camryn and Reagan) and Carrie's kids (Noah and Kaitlyn) were able to join us for a pancake and donuts dinner, Easter egg hunt, and lots of rolling down Mr. Dennis hill and playing on his swingset. Not quite the same Spring Break trips we had in college together, but still enjoyable! 

Before I end this post, I have to include a few funny sayings and random updates:

  • After playing outside for a bit, Riley turned to me and said, "My eyes are hot. I got to cool off in the sun!"
  • A few days after we were blowing "raspberries" on the kids' stomachs, Riley looked at Chris and told him, "I'm going to give you a strawberry-blueberry when I snort on your belly!" I LOVE it! 
  • Maggie continues to talk in longer sentences and is learning to reason really well. Just today, I called to Riley (who was upstairs in his bed) that we were about to start a show and Maggie said, "No Ra-Ra sleep. Tired." 
  • Maggie is also continuing her independent streak (which I doubt will end any time soon). She doesn't want any help walking up and down stairs. And she likes to go "slowly" up the stairs as she says and then "fast!" She doesn't like for you to buckle the strap to her car seat and insists, "No, I do it!" 
  • Her love for music and songs is growing as well. She is now singing the "God our Father" mealtime blessing, "ABC Song", "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", "Mockingbird" and my "Goodnight" song that I made up. 
  • Riley is about to start swim lessons on Monday and to help get him ready we went and practiced in the pool at the YMCA yesterday. He was excited for days about it and pretty much carried his snorkel and mask with him everywhere he went. Unfortunately, the mask didn't seal well and when we ducked under the water to get our heads wet, he came up sputtering and full of water. Hopefully, this won't scar him too much and he'll be able to be brave for his swim lessons. 

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