Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Belated Happy Easter Wish (and Lots of Snapshots of Our Weekend!)

Boys will be boys.  I finally got someone to take a family photo, but the boy had been playing basketball, so their shirts were untucked. 

Good thing that the Easter season does not end on Easter Sunday, since I am just getting to wishing everyone here a most joyous Easter.

Sorry to be late in doing so.

The end of Holy Week was full for us and I felt prompted NOT to get online as much so I could concentrate on faith, family and home with greater attention.

So, here I am, a week after Easter Sunday, finally wishing everyone a blessed Easter season and taking a look back at some highlights from Good Friday through Easter Sunday.

Good Friday

Heading into Good Friday, I was sleepless, but oh so blessed.  In the middle of the night, I walked into the kids' room to find all three of my children cuddled up, sound asleep, with their heads all tucked together.  By the time I grabbed the camera to memorialize the sweet morning went, both Nina and Luke had moved their heads.  I snapped away anyway.  My children's closeness and sweet slumber is something I never tire or remembering.

Happy "good morning" greetings never cease to make me smile, too.  Since I finally fell asleep next to my kiddoes in the wee hours of Good Friday morning, and happened to have the camera right next to me, I caught this one in the morning when Nina woke me.

Of course, most of Good Friday was spent with quiet and services.   We worked a bit more on our Holy Week art and the children and I attended Living Stations, as presented by the Teens at our church, and, later, the Good Friday services.  

It was the first year that I braved both stations and services alone with my busy children who have always been challenging at Mass and, well, we survived.  Nina was prayerful; Jack fell asleep during services; and the picture of Luke, who had been his usual challenging himself throughout the service, kneeling to venerate the cross with such piety will long be etched in my mind and heart.  

Praise be for moments like that that affirm Luke "gets it" even when too often still his words and behaviors demonstrate otherwise.

Holy Saturday

I had every intention of braving the Easter Vigil Mass with the kids, too, but, in the end, realized it would have been anything but a faith-filled, reverent experience for those around us if I did.  By late afternoon/early evening, my children were happy, but oh-so-tired.  Tired kids and Mass never fly well here...  So, in deference to those who might have been near us in the pews, I decided Good Friday and Easter morning services would be enough for us for this year since Daddy could not be with us for any of the services but  Sunday morning.

So, why were the kids so happy, yet tired?  It could have had something to do with...

Egging!  The children each picked one family they wanted to egg this year and then got busy filling eggs to do so.
Luke worked hard picking Bible verses and making scripture scrolls to leave with the eggs this year -- his idea.  Then, we were off.

One family we egged was home, home, home every time we went to egg them, so we actually egged them on Easter Monday.  Another family was out so we did quick egging there, after which Nina led us in prayer for the family.  So sweet!

Then, we drove to a nearby town where some homeschool friends live.  We figured they'd either be out for the beautiful day or in their backyard playing, so we would be able to secretly egg in front.  However, one of the children peeped over the back fence just as we pulled up.  So, we told them we were just driving in the area and wanted to swing by to say "hi".  Then, when the kids of the family asked my kids to play, I quietly went to the front yard to "egg".  As we were leaving, my children acted surprised about the printable "You've Been Egged" note that one of the children found on their front door and helped the kids find the eggs.  The oldest child figured out that it was us who had egged them, so the secret was out as the fun was shared.
Later, Nina and Luke snipped up paper and Jack worked intently on creating a mosaic of the tomb where Jesus' body was placed.  

While I prepped Easter egg dying and did some other things, the kids watched versions of The Easter Story online to reinforce the true meaning of Easter, as well as Here Comes Peter Cottontail and Berenstain Bears just for fun.

This year, oil pastels and dyed hot water brought out the kids' artistry.

Jack was awfully excited about leaving salad greens, carrots and more for the bunny.

Nina thought we should leave water and utensils, too.  I persuaded her that the utensils were unnecessary, so she put them back and then she and her brothers decided to hide eggs for the bunny and to leave a note.  How cute!

Then it was time for prayers, bed and, in my case, trying to outlast Luke, who had great anxiety about not being able to sleep, which only made him stay awake longer, crying as I comforted and prayed for him.  Poor thing!

Easter Sunday!

Considering that Luke was actually awake with anxiety through the wee hours of Easter morning and, while I was comforting him, Nina and Jack woke, too, I thought the children would sleep in on Easter.


Excited to celebrate that Jesus has risen and to see if the bunny came, the kids woke quite early.  Since Daddy had had to work an overnight into Easter morning, though, I told the kids they could not go do their traditional Easter morning egg hunt, though.  They had to wait until Daddy got home.  

The children were surprisingly good about this!

They were super good about not stepping one toe into the living room when they asked if they could just go see if the bunny had come.

In celebration of the kids having listened to the request not to step into the living room, I said they could go in to each select one of the lollipops the Easter Bunny had left them in their Pray, Fast, Give jars, whereupon they noticed that the bunny had written back to them.

Luke read the notes to Nina and Jack.

Then, I told the kids they could each take ONE treat from their baskets before going back to their room.  Excitedly, they all chose window markers or crayons and dashed back to try them out on their windows.

The kids thought it was great fun to have free reign doing window art.  However, they were disappointed that Daddy's car was nowhere in sight out the window.

I quelled the kids by letting them watch the Beginner Bible Easter Story on Youtube.

Finally, Daddy got home and the kids dashed to the living room to greet him and begin their annual Easter morning egg hunt.  Jack counted the eggs he found.

Nina was excited to fund money AND candy in the eggs this year (and Mommy was moved when Luke led Nina and Jack in putting some of their "egg money" into their "give" rice bowls for the church!)

Then it was onto a super simple to prepare breakfast that the kids had pre-requested:  our dyed eggs, raspberries and syrup, GFCF donuts, chocolate milk and ice cream.  (I said simple, not healthy!)

After breakfast, before Mass, we tried taking a self-timer family shot...

More than once, with little success.

Or with some success, but weird fuzziness.

I'd like to say Mass was beautiful.  It was, of course, in some ways, but, in other ways, not so much.  

Early on during Mass, despite the joy of the day, I looked up at the crucifix and found myself unexpectedly overcome with silent tears -- or both sadness and joy -- as I thought about the trying Lent so many I know (myself included) had experienced, the gratitude I have for my own family and the awesome promise of eternal life in Heaven that Jesus offered us.

Later, one of Mike and my children also burst into tears.  Not-so-silent tears!   We had gotten to Mass just on time and, therefore had had to sit in the choir loft.  During the homily, our pastor asked all of the children at Mass to make paper airplanes with messages about love, faith, Jesus, etc.  However, the papers for doing so had not been pre-stocked in the choir loft...  Thus, the tears and the remaining challenges of Mass with our kids...  Ahhh... Exhale and offer it up.

After a figuratively and literally long Easter Mass, we went home to make, um, rice.  Yes, rice.  For Easter.  That is what my children requested.  Rice, cold cuts, edamame and broccoli.  Why not?  We made our own quick version of an empty tomb with these ingredients to bring to our family Easter along with a fruit salad and some other not-so-traditional fare.

And it was at our family Easter celebration that we enjoyed games inside and out, good food, loving company and, of course...

... more eggs!

Eggs happily hunted for, collected and cracked open.

Eggs that included bucks!

After hours of feasting and sharing prayers, conversation, family time and fun, we headed home.  Two of the three children passed out on the way home.  Only this one stayed that way when transferring into the house.

And so it was most of Easter day here was as filled with gladness as I prayed it would be.  Much of that which wasn't (which is not detailed here on purpose) will be forgotten as we each continue to simply choose to remember that we are loved by one another and by our Lord.

You are, too.

May the love of Easter strengthen you!  Wishing you every blessing!

PS  I'd also like to recommend this bundle to families.  We already own some of the resources in it, use them, enjoy them, and, thus, are affiliates to the bundle:



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