We celebrated Easter on Saturday with Ben’s family. (That’s Oliver and Jake in the chair.) We met up for dinner and an egg hunt where the kids got ridiculously and lovingly spoiled. They were quite the happy little clams on the drive home.
I snapped this picture as we were heading out the door to go to church on Easter Sunday. Molly was with her other family for the long spring break (and Easter) so she is absent from the photo. My kids are looking so grown up these days.
We had a quiet Easter. Ben and the kids sang in church and we had a quiet dinner at home. It was lovely.
Molly came home on Sunday evening with quite the haul of candy. She’s been on a sugar high ever since. We saved our own family egg hunt for Monday when we could all be together. I made the kids each a stuffed animal/creature/doll for their baskets and Ben hid the eggs in each child’s room. Both William and Molly have a few eggs still left to find. I know that the kids ended up with way too much candy, but I have so much fun putting together their Easter treats. Maybe someday I can transition to healthier or non-food options. :)
On Saturday, we were invited to an absolutely beautiful Easter brunch with friends. It was gorgeous and it felt so wonderful to be outside in the sun. Sunshine has a way of making everything seem like its going to be okay. The kids ran around laughing and playing and I tried to soak up as much sun as possible. All of our kids were smitten with the bunnies, just like I remember feeling when I was little.
We bought Oliver his first pair of real shoes so that he can run around outside with the big kids. He’s wasted no time in putting them to good use.
After visiting and brunching, the kids went on an egg hunt. They were so excited and everyone had a great time. I wish I had snapped pictures of the older kids, but it is getting increasingly harder to get them in a picture. William and Henry were running (and wrestling) with their friends and Molly was spending time with one of her favorite friends Nina. There were tree forts to explore, chickens to chase and swings to swing in. Life is good.
Four deer came to dine in our yard this morning. It was the largest group we’ve seen (the previous being three) and it caused quite a stir. Oliver wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but when he peeked and caught sight of the deer he was terrified. He ran to me for comfort and I reassured him that it was okay, so he went in for a second look and decided they were pretty awesome after all.
One of the deer had an injured leg and it was sad to see her limp around the yard. I think there were two females and a male in addition to the fawn, though it’s not like they had antlers or were wearing dresses so I could be completely wrong.
Even Toby got in on the deer watching action. He thinks that Oliver is his litter mate and Oliver in return has taken quite a liking to him. When Oliver gets up from naps his first request is for his blanket and number two is to bet let down so he can be kissed by the dog.
This piece of fabulous is the outfit that Adelaide put together when I told her that we had to get ready to leave the house. I totally let her wear it out of the house. I love it.
Yesterday was beautiful and unusually warm. I taught Adelaide’s little preschool class and after snacks, lessons and activities we headed outside to enjoy the sunshine. Eventually mothers came to pick up their little ones and we headed inside for lunch, but it wasn’t long before we felt the pull to get back outside. Homeschooling got put aside for the afternoon and instead we played together as a family, outside in the beautiful sunshine.
William read Tom Sawyer in a tree which seemed completely fitting. Henry and Adelaide rode bikes and played in the water in the ditch at the front of our property. I searched and retrieved all the sports equipment that had been lost in the grass. William really wanted to build a fire pit, but since we were lacking in materials I suggested a teepee instead.
We gathered several large branches that had been left when we had a few trees removed last summer and drug them over to a little patch of bare earth on the side of the house. Once we had them in a shape that seemed right, we tied them together with rope. The floor was swept of pine cones, a few signs made, a little rock pathway assembled and some grass laid down for carpet.
The result was pretty wonderful and was a hit for the rest of the day. (W.H.A. stands for William, Henry and Adelaide) Oliver played in the teepee for a little bit before getting banished for trying to throw the special rocks from the path. He got plenty of other outside play time though and even earned his first giant bruise by hitting his noggin on the concrete. All that considered, he spent most of his day attached to me via the Ergo baby carrier. The little man is cutting eight teeth right now and he’s none too thrilled.
This weekend was the general conference for our church. I love conference weekend so much. It’s a time for us to spend together as a family, relaxing, eating yummy food, and listening to inspired messages and counsel. On Saturday we had two baseball games sandwiched in between conference sessions and though it was rainy and cold, it was a nice break. Henry played awesome (he’s running so fast now!) and William got to pitch for the first time. He was super nervous and a little discouraged, but I’m so proud of him. He struck out two batters in his 1 2/3 innings!
I went into this weekend needing conference so much. I had many questions on my mind and prayers in my heart and I desperately needed answers. As soon as the first speaker started I had tears running down my face, because it was a direct answer to my prayers. And so our weekend went. I heard so many good things and I feel strengthened.
Being a Mormon isn’t easy. People don’t like my religion all that much. It’s not trendy or cool and people have a lot of misinformation and they don’t care to be corrected. I had someone ask me through tears recently, “Why is it so hard?” It is hard and it isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. I love my church. I love how it makes me feel. I feel valued, important, cherished, intelligent and capable. I’ve been blessed tremendously over the last 10 years and those blessings were direct results of keeping commandments. Not commandments of men, but commandments of God. There is a God. Whether you choose to believe in him or not, it doesn’t change it for me. I never think poorly of someone for believing in a different religion or no religion at all. I’m not better than anyone else. My sins or mistakes aren’t any less bad than anyone else’s. I’m trying my best to live an honest and good life and I know that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the best way for me to do that. Me. I assume that other people are trying to do the same and that they are happy with how they choose to find joy. And that’s okay.
I had to take Molly to her other house for the weekend which meant spending an eternity in the car enduring Friday night traffic. To celebrate our survival and to break up the return trip, I met Ben in Bellevue and we took the kids to dinner at Crossroads. It’s just a little strip mall of a place with several different restaurant choices, but it’s been a favorite of our family ever since we lived in Bellevue several kids ago. It has a community vibe to it and the whole thing is just so nostalgic.
Our kids love to ride the quarter rides, even when we don’t have quarters and they have to just sit and pretend. Tonight we scrounged up a few coins and they all picked something different.
We stuck Oliver on the horse which is everyone’s favorite because of it’s super long ride, but he lasted about 2 seconds before demanding to be taken off. Adelaide and Henry gladly finished out the ride for him. William opted to skip the rides and keep his quarter instead. He was feeling a little too old for such things. It’s good and right and bittersweet.
Our family is growing and changing and while that feels so good and right and wonderful, it’s also scary and uncertain and a little sad. I know we’ll be able to figure it out and that eventually it will come naturally and comfortably to us, but right now I just feel a little overwhelmed. I feel such a great responsibility to these children of mine. I want to give them all the tools that they’ll need to navigate this crazy planet of ours. I want them to be filled with knowledge and a strong sense of their own worth. I want them to feel loved and to rejoice in their individual talents and uniqueness. They are my greatest treasure and my most challenging journey. They each hold a part of my heart and it’s surreal and terrifying to watch those pieces of my heart enter out into the world. I want to hold them in my hands and protect them from all harm, but I know that’s ridiculous and impossible and quite frankly not the point of this whole existence of ours.
Ah parenthood. You are really something, aren’t you.
Yesterday morning as we were doing our schoolwork, William looked up and saw this sweet little fawn right outside our window. He was nibbling on the new green leaves on our raspberry bushes. Deer are common in our yard, but usually they stay on the other side of our house where they can stay farther away from the noise and bustle of our family. They like to eat the fruit that falls from our fruit trees and to nibble the blackberries and salmon berries that surround us on two sides. It was fun to see this little one up close.
Lots of little creatures have been waking up with the Spring. I caught a glimpse of a quail a few days ago as it ran across our driveway. I’ve never seen one in person before, but the distinctive little run was a definite give away. I hope I get to see him again.
Every night Toby does his best to try and catch one of the many bunnies that use our front lawn as a litter box. He’s not particularly gifted in the hunting department and it’s often several minutes before he even realizes that the bunny is sitting there watching him. When he finally sees it, he bolts and the bunny is gone before he’s made it two steps. I’m not sure what he thinks he’s going to do with the bunny once he catches it.
I love how peaceful our yard feels. It makes me happy that there are animals that want to share it with us.
Except for maybe that darn coyote that ate Tim Tim.
I’ve seen the coyote once since the incident. He’s huge and fat and definitely makes me nervous.