Broken decoration…

It has been years since I put any Easter decorations out. It seems like we’re always gone for spring break and Easter sneaks up on me and I just haven’t been good about getting decorations out. But this year, I was cleaning out the garage when I came across the Easter boxes and decided this was the year to pull it all out.

Briggs didn’t even know we had Easter decorations and he was obsessed with the ceramic bunny. Steve and I were out one night while Hallie babysat and the next morning I noticed the ears sitting next to the bunny.

I sent Hallie a text while she was at school to try and get to the bottom of the broken ears. This was her response.

You’d think I would’ve tossed the broken decoration. But I didn’t. It stayed on our counter all the way through Easter. First, so I could question Briggs about what happened to it and watch him squirm. Second, is there any better holiday than Easter to have a broken decoration sit on the counter?! It was a gentle reminder the whole season that we’re all a little broken, which is why Easter is so important and why we need a Savior.

Easter 2022…

Last week was the longest week ever! We had the slowest moving stomach bug for over a week. And just when we thought we were in the clear, Bennett knocked on my door at 6:30 Easter morning saying he didn’t feel well. I will spare all the details but it didn’t end pretty.

Easter was a little different. We could either leave Bennett home and the rest of the family could go enjoy a nice dinner with extended family, or we could stick it out as a family at home. We were concerned who might be the next one to catch the bug in our family and unknowingly pass it to someone at the family gathering. So against the vote of our children, we spent the afternoon at home as a family.

I had already made all the rolls for our large extended gathering and I just needed to pull them out of the freezer to rise. I made a call to my sister-in-law who was hosting later that afternoon and informed her we were out but the rolls would be in. In return we would swing by for some food and bring it home for our family. Side note: I pulled out the rolls to rise before church but I got stuck in a meeting after church and I came home to Hunter cooking batches of rolls! I asked him how he knew how long to cook them and he said he didn’t, he just kept looking at them to see when they were brown enough to pull them out. He did a beautiful job and they all got cooked in time!

So our little family spent the afternoon together. Bennett joined us for pictures and the egg hunt. And Hallie and Hunter must have hidden his eggs too hard because he gave up pretty quickly and said he would try again the next day (and he found them all today!) We typically do an egg hunt with cousins which is great, but our kids enjoyed the egg hunt we did during covid when every kid had a different color egg and they had a certain number to find. With only 13 eggs a piece, this activity lasted far longer than expected (almost an hour!)

Knowing we were missing dinner with family, our friends dropped off an Easter cookie decorating kit which kept their interest for quite a while. Such a thoughtful gift.

Briggs insisted we recreate the time “when he almost died” in his Easter basket. (He made the same request last year) One of these days, his little bum isn’t going to fit in that bucket but we’ll recreate it until that happens!

Hallie is my picture girl! The boys tend to scatter, but she’ll always humor me and let me take as many pictures as I want. She is a real gem.

It was a special day. We would have loved to have been with extended family, but these family members are the most important people in my life and it was a beautiful day to spend just our little family. We had some beautiful discussions we won’t soon forget.

Valentine’s love…

It was late the night before Valentine’s Day. I had already decorated the kitchen and as I made my way to bed, I remembered the treats I had bought for the kids that I was waiting to put out until Hallie went to bed. I turned the lights on in the kitchen to find hand made cards lining the counter for each of the boys (and for Steve and me) – Hallie’s handiwork. I’m not sure why she is so good to those brothers but they don’t know how good they’ve got it.

I added treats to the cards she made and realized I couldn’t leave her without a special note. I quickly replicated her idea and made a card for her.

The next morning I asked her when she made cards for her brothers – she replied, “several days ago.” She is more than I could have hoped for and I love how thoughtful she is and how much light she brings to our family!

Valentine’s Day 2022…

I only had one elementary school child that needed a valentine box this year, the other two decorated paper bags with their class. I think the oatmeal container is my favorite base for a valentine’s box because it’s so versatile. We used the oatmeal container for a bumble bee, a shark, a gumball machine and now an owl.

Hunter gets the award because he helped Briggs cut out all these hearts – and he couldn’t be more pleased with the final result. And I couldn’t be more pleased to see my kids helping each other on a project like this.

Bennett was funny about Valentine’s this year because he was on the fence as to whether he wanted to do them at all – after all they are optional. I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of him showing up without a bag of Valentine’s when the majority of the class would be handing them out. I had already bought the candy for his cards and wasn’t going to put the effort in if he really didn’t want them. When he realized, he too would be getting a ring pop, he was just find handing them out to the class. (And I had to go buy another bag of Ring Pops because I found out last minute they were combining two classes for Valentines, I was lucky to find just two bags left on the shelves.)

Although he didn’t love my original idea of “Let me “Pop” a question, Will you be mine?” We settled on “You are a real gem”. Far less embarrassing for a 5th grader.

Cannon went with an oldie but a goodie – the original Charms blow up sucker, “Blowing kisses your way”. I can’t remember who used this printable previously, but I was just happy to not have to design another card – when I already have an extensive library!

Briggs handed out little bags of chips with – I ‘heart’ our friend “Chip” – stapled to the top. He was concerned not all of the Valentine’s he would be handing out would fit in his little owl container – luckily it was nothing a Wal-mart bag couldn’t fix.

Everyone came home pleased with their bags/boxes of valentines and quickly devoured their favorite candies. I think our monthly sugar consumption was reached in one day!

New Years Eve 2021…

Last year on New Year’s Eve, a few in the family tested positive for COVID which meant we had a quarantined evening and some isolated family members. I was happy the circumstances were different for us this year. Although the rain put a slight damper on our evening, it didn’t stop the kids from living in the hot tub and playing with sparklers.

Our older kids are getting to a stage where the want to hang with friends on New Year’s Eve – surprise, surprise. So we gathered three families who were all missing their two oldest children. We had a delicious spread of snacks and food and we brought in the new year at 11:15 (bless those recorded ball drops) and were home by midnight. How great is that!?

We somehow managed to buy the smokiest sparklers I’ve ever seen. It made for some really eerie effects.

I have a box in the garage labeled “New Years/Cinco de Mayo”. Over the years, I’ve collected all sorts of New Years Eve celebration paraphernalia. (It’s probably time to get rid of all the 2018 glasses!) My sister-in-law loves to go all out and she’s been with us the last couple years so our box is well stocked. We keep beaded necklaces, noisemakers, hats, glasses…it’s a party in a box. And it also happens to be our Cinco de Mayo decor which is why some are sporting a sombrero. 🙂

And just like that we got a new year, and a new start. The gyms are packed and cookie consumption is down – at least this week. I love the new year. I love when the Christmas decorations come down and the house starts to feel normal again. Until I decide to pull a beginning of the year project that may or may not last the majority of the year. My new year’s resolution is to finish last years projects. Wish me luck!

Christmas break…

We have had my brother come visit us after Christmas for the last several years. We love having them and we have a routine of all the things we know we can fit it into the week between Christmas and New Years. For one reason or another, they weren’t able to join us this year. So we decided to make a last minute, quick trip to California – during what was quite possibly the coldest and rainiest week of the year! Several times the week before, we were tempted to cancel all together because the forecast was so gloomy. But in the end we went and we made the best out of a very rainy situation.

The best decision we made was inviting some friends to join – they have an RV and were happy to join in our rainy fun. We were very strategic about our activities. We tracked the weather so closely and as soon as there was a rain-free window – we were outside, bundled up! We spent a morning riding bikes along the pier. We could have done this for hours, but our window was short and we didn’t want to end up drenched. We started out with Briggs on his little bike and before we even left the parking lot, we switched him to a tandem which was such a smart move on our part – his little legs would’ve had a hard time keeping up.

One evening *before dinner* we went to Balboa Island to grab a frozen banana/treat. As you can imagine, nobody was overly hungry for dinner. And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get how people rave over the frozen banana! They’re hard to eat and they hurt my teeth – but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Dip anything in sprinkles and they’re a fan.

We had access to a small enclosed dinghy boat which kept us entertained and warm for hours. Even when it was rainy outside, we could take it out and put around the bay. One evening we took the boat out and enjoyed all the Christmas lights on the houses bordering the bay – it was fun to spot the houses that had received awards for their display. A few of the displays were pretty fancy. We learned that they have a boat parade before Christmas where everyone decorates their boats and several were still decorated and cruising around the bay.

The kids wanted to play in the ocean and no matter how many times we told them just how cold the water was, they were convinced they were going to go skim board and play in the waves. It was a brief excursion to the beach (when Briggs managed to get fully wet) but we did manage to roast some hot dogs and make smores and we would’ve stayed longer but we ran out of wood and we were too cold without a fire.

The kids rode the small but fast ferris wheel at Balboa fun zone. We must have caught the only two hours it was open for the day due to rain – because we didn’t see it running much the whole time we were there.

And when the rain totally shut us down – there were always puzzles. And Jack’s Surf Shop. And games. And movies. And tacos.

We packed in a surprising amount of fun for just how miserable the weather was. Literally two days after we left it was beautiful and sunny once again. I guess we’ll have to head back another time and hopefully not pack everyone’s comfy!