Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter

Sorry for the belated Easter update.  Evenings just haven't been my friend this week, and my lunch yesterday was filled with a learning session, so I just haven't had the chance to write.  We had a pretty good Easter weekend, although the downside was that Craig was out of town for most of it, and when he got back from his roadtrip, he was sick.  So he pretty missed out on all the fun and food on Sunday, which was a bummer.

The end of last week was busy--between packing, food shopping and prep, and making sure I had everything I needed to top off the kids' Easter baskets, there was never a dull moment.  One evening when I was out doing some of the errand running, I caught this picture.

This doesn't even do it justice, as the whole sky was glowing much more orange than you see it here.  And behind me, the tops of the trees were glowing pink, with a very gray sky behind it.  It was sort of creepy and surreal, but very cool.  It was a nice moment in the midst of hurrying up everywhere.

Friday morning we had to get on the road pretty early because we needed to meet my parents at their church by 12:30.  We actually got in the van on time, by some miracle, and got there early enough to run across the street to Burlington Coat Factory.  I had promised Jacob we'd go back there and see if we could find another tie for him, since he loves his suit so much that he wanted another tie option to change it up, and they're super cheap there.  We had a little hiccup when he had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in the bathroom, but we recovered quickly, found a tie for $6, and headed back across the street just in time for church.  The kids were pretty good--Jacob was actually great and Carter had a couple moments but wasn't too bad, all things considered.  We pondered trying to stay for the walk-through experience the church had set up for Good Friday, but by then Carter was getting a little crazy and we still hadn't eaten lunch, so we headed home.

We kept ourselves occupied for a couple hours before heading over to my Uncle Jeff's (site of most traditional family gatherings) for our traditional noodles and prunes Good Friday dinner.  It's already a great spread of appetizers before we dig into egg noodles, croutons, and prunes/stewed plums (well, a select few do the plums) for dinner.  I brought gluten-free pasta and croutons for Jacob and my cousin Lori, who is also gluten-free, as well as my first attempt at spinach-artichoke dip.

As we got further into the meal, Jacob started complaining that his stomach was bothering him.  He was still functional, but given that I'd felt a little off the previous day or two, I was a little cautious.  And anyway, I keep waiting for one of our major holidays to be ruined by a stomach bug, so I'm extra paranoid.  While he was getting some air in hopes of feeling better, my uncle took him to the backyard to fly his fancy drone.  My Uncle Jeff is a gadget guy and a computer whiz, and he has this very hi-tech drone that he loves to use when he's out hiking, which is another passion of his.  Why he wanted to risk having my eight-year-old fly it, I have no idea, but he did, and Jacob had fun.
Controlling it via phone

He flew it out over some woods, then back to right above us.  I was really zoomed in to get this shot.  I bet it was still 100 feet up.

Bringing it in for a landing with Uncle Jeff back at the controls...it almost looks like the star on the top of the tree in the middle!
It was a really cool experience for Jacob, and I love seeing him act mature enough to do neat stuff like that.  Even still, his stomach was still bothering him so we ended up leaving the party a bit early.  Of course, that meant I had to keep Carter and Jacob away from each other for an extra couple hours in a quiet house, which wasn't easy...though it was a good indicator of how Jacob was feeling later on, as he seemed to gain some extra energy when Carter was around.  We ended up watching some playoff hockey on Canadian TV and Carter played with his Transformers.  The good news is that it all prevented me from eating or drinking more than I already did, which probably saved me from some belly issues of my own.  And, after a while, Jacob was feeling better.  Both kids went down pretty easily, as well, as it had been a busy day and Carter was excited to sleep on the air mattress in the office, which I think he considered a "big boy thing" since Jacob did it last time.

Saturday morning I woke up too early and checked my phone.  I took a glance at the webcam of April the Giraffe, which I'd been watching periodically since a few weeks earlier when they originally said she'd have the baby anytime.  I wasn't a crazy watcher like some people, but I'd make an effort to check in every few hours, as after a while it just became a "thing" to want to spontaneously catch the birth.  When I checked at 7am, all was well.  I rested a bit longer until the kids were up, at which point I turned my phone on again.  The app must haves still been open because I looked at the camera again at 7:30 and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a baby hoof sticking out!  From then on that morning, I was glued to my phone.  The early stages took quite a while, so I managed to eat breakfast and watch some Sesame Street with Carter while waiting.  Sometime around 9:40, one of the contractions caught my eye and I could tell that the head was starting to come out.  I knew that once that happened it would be fast, and sure enough, a few minutes later you could clearly see the head.  A few more pushes after that, and the baby splashed out.  It was incredible.  Tons of amniotic fluid, a placenta delivery (I think), and some other assorted grossness...but incredible.  Then I ended up watching for another hour until the baby was on its feet and seemed to be trying to nurse, before I went off to take a shower and return to being a more engaged mother for the rest of the day!

It ended up being a pretty rainy day early on, which was a bummer as it's hard to keep the kids contained in the house.  Jacob declared that he wanted to play Monopoly, which elicited a couple groans (mine included), but we headed down to the basement to bring it up (along with another fun game from my youth called Run Yourself Ragged, famous in our house for having been the game whose ball I swallowed.  And no, I have NO idea why I had it in my mouth in the first place.).  We played quite the game of Monopoly while Carter miraculously kept himself occupied.  Grandpa went bankrupt first, then Jacob, both at the hands of my mom.  By then she had pretty much everything and put houses on almost all properties, so it was only a matter of time before I went under as well.  She crushed us!  But it was a fun way to pass the time, and when we were done, the sun was coming out!

It had also warmed up pretty nicely, so off to the playground we went!  Jacob and I played basketball for a while (he beat me in PIG)...


Love to see smiles on his face!

For some reason I feel like this sort of captures his essence.  I have no idea why...but I like it.
Eventually we got tired of our balls rolling in the mud, so we moved back over to the playground itself, where Carter was running around with my mom.  I caught this shot of the two boys taunting each other on the bridge...

And after lots of attempts to get a shot of Carter smiling, I got this one when he was on a spinning seat!
Success!
I'm not even sure what we did the rest of the day that day, but before we knew it, it was bath time.  Both boys had to get cleaned up and in bed so the Easter Bunny could come!

Jacob was excited to wear his suit for Easter, and even Carter felt pretty spiffy in his shirt.  Don't they look handsome?

After that, it was time to look for their baskets!  After some clues, Carter found his behind the dining room curtain...
 ...and Jacob needed some narrowing down before he found his in the bathroom cabinet!

Jacob got a variety of candy, a Polish t-shirt directly from the Broadway Market (which was meant to be for Dyngus Day the following day, but alas...Craig's illness kibboshed that), and some hair gel that he's been wanting.  Yes, hair gel.  The kid who loves his suit thinks he needs hair to match!  Carter's basket had less candy (as he goes through his much slower) but had two books (one cute little book about prayer and one called, "Bedtime for Batman"!), some Hot Wheels track, and a Hot Wheels rocket launcher.  Both boys seemed very happy with their haul!

We went to church after that, and while both boys did pretty well, now it was Carter's turn to complain about a stomach ache.  He seemed okay, but just liked laying on me a bit more than usual.  He perked up a bit by the end of the service and we headed off to the breakfast in the gym.  Carter downed a couple pieces of donut, half a piece of coffee cake, a pancake, and part of the egg and sausage bake, along with a cup of orange juice.  We brought pancakes and donuts for Jacob.

After that, it was time for the annual candy grab.  Jacob has done it for years, and Carter has done it a couple years now.  Well, for some reason Jacob decided to pass this year.  I'm not sure if it was the maturity of the suit, or what he actually said about candy being unhealthy, but he passed.  Carter was ready for his hunt, however!  He wasn't as aggressive as I expected, but he picked up about half a bag of candy.  Along the way he picked up one of the three prize eggs, which I thought all of the kids had found right off the bat, but this one was just hanging out along the wall a couple minutes in.  Well, it turned out that much like his big brother, Carter won the big bunny!  It wasn't quite as big as Jacob's, thankfully, but it turned out Carter wasn't that into it.  I asked him if he wanted to give it to someone else, and he agreed, so he gave it to a cute little two-year-old girl, who wasn't too sure about it herself.  I actually thought he was going to tackle the girl just to give her the bunny, but eventually she took it.  It was sweet, and I complimented him many times. 

Once we got back to my parents' house, the kids did some hunting for some Easter eggs of their own.  They were hidden around the family room, and while they did pretty well with the first 10, the last couple involved some serious clues!  Still, the boys had fun with it and enjoyed their candy and some change!

Eventually we took off to Craig's side of the family.  The kids were thrilled to see their cousins!  We got our fill of amazing food--ham, kielbasa, breads, fruit, and vegetables mixed in with good stuff--and topped it off with Jello jellybeans, cupcakes (regular and gluten-free), strawberry shortcake cake, pies, and cookies.  Everything was so good!  Our sister-in-law coordinated a big Easter egg hunt for the kids, so they collected even more candy there.  Aside from Carter having a few behavior issues when the big kids didn't include him, it wasn't too bad of a day.  But Craig was miserable throughout his trip home, and while he tried to see his family for a little while, eventually he decided to leave before it got worse.  The kids and I followed behind a while later.

Overall, it wasn't a bad weekend.  We had the usual behavior issues, but the kids were pretty good about keeping themselves occupied when necessary, and we got in some good family time.  Craig's situation definitely stunk, and he's still recovering.  I can't seem to get enough sleep this week, which might be partly because I'm off my allergy medicine for testing next week and my body is battling a bit.  On the bright side, spring officially arrived over the weekend as we now have trees sprouting leaves and blooming, and the grass has greened up (and grown).  The temperatures still aren't consistent, but it hasn't been too bad and I'm so thankful it seems the worst is over.  Time is flying faster than ever, but for now, I won't complain...the best time of year is right around the corner!

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