Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – memorial day weekend

We packed a lot of activities into one weekend!

Saturday was our fifth anniversary – but my sister’s husband’s brother (who is also a friend of ours) was getting married that evening, so we dropped the boys off at my parents’ house Friday night for a sleepover so we could celebrate a little early. The next morning I woke up early, being somewhat incapable of sleeping past 6am, and made cinnamon rolls for an anniversary surprise 🙂 He ate six of them over the course of the day, so I think they were a success 🙂 and I ate the other six between that day and the next, shh! So that’s a bit of {happy} and {real}:

I didn’t take any pictures at the wedding, in part because the cameras honestly tend to detract from the ceremony in my opinion, but also because corralling two toddlers with no practice in sitting still through long events took both my hands, all my skill, and most of my patience. Fortunately they had a foyer area where we could watch the wedding without any of our noise disrupting the event! My sister, who was a bridesmaid, said she couldn’t hear anything; the wedding planner, who kept darting in and out of the foyer, seemed to think otherwise by the looks of exasperation and disapproval she kept shooting our way.

And in general, despite the fact that it was an exceptionally nice wedding and reception, and was set up in a very family-friendly way (as I had anticipated, knowing the couple), the attitude of the other guests made it really hard for me to enjoy it. Maybe all those older women were childless, or had forgotten what it was like to have young kids – but I got a larger dose of judgmental glances at that reception than I have ever gotten before. If you really want to make someone feel uncomfortable enough to leave, just keep shooting nasty looks at them… but if you want to be courteous, come over and express whatever’s bothering you and maybe it can be addressed. It didn’t help that our kids were the youngest there. We had a lot of young children at our wedding and reception, and I would have loved to have more – it is weird to me to celebrate marriage, the covenant that leads to new life, in a child-exclusive way – but there were only a few here, and I think the others skipped the ceremony and came late. Sigh. I don’t think I want to attempt that again; my social anxiety is bad enough without the blatant disapproval of others pushing it home.

Sunday was another story altogether, though. Since my sister and her husband were in town for the wedding, we had a family party at my parents’ house, including my uncle, his sons, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s daughters, whom I hadn’t met before. Again, I didn’t take many pictures, but it was mainly because I was too busy swimming and eating to think about it! It was good to be with family, to relax, to be free to be ourselves and let the kids be themselves, and to remember the love of family which matters more than the passing judgments of strangers.

I did get a few shots of my husband and Rondel swimming together, while Limerick was napping! The boys absolutely love the pool and spent hours in it throughout the day, with whoever they could persuade to accompany them.

On Memorial Day itself, we stayed at home and recovered from the weekend. I was intending to clean but after doing three loads of laundry, washing a couple batches of dishes, and vacuuming the floors, I was pretty much exhausted. I keep forgetting how much less stamina I have in the first trimester! The floors were in desperate need of vacuuming, though, so I’m glad I at least got that done. Next in line? The bathrooms. (Always the bathrooms… I hate cleaning the bathrooms, so they get put off, and then they get horrible, and then I want to do them even less, but then I finally do them and it is such a weight off my shoulders.) I had found a good routine for housecleaning over the spring semester, but my schedule has completely changed again and I have two fewer mornings at home, which makes cleaning more difficult as the boys are more tired and needy in the afternoon and dinner prep needs to be done. I’m sure I’ll figure something out before the schedule changes again, though!

Head over to Like Mother, Like Daughter for the link-up today! There will probably be a lot more beauty and happiness there than in this rather rambling and complaining post of mine – but I am glad and thankful for the special times we’ve had thrown in with the challenging ones this weekend.

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – a big announcement!

Well, the boys and I managed to finish our teaser project from last week, and while it didn’t turn out quite as nicely as my Pinterest-addled mind envisioned, I’m still pretty happy about it 🙂





The second picture has better smiles, but something about the first picture just seems fitting for two boys expecting a new sibling! Rondel’s somewhat suspicious face says, are you sure this is such a good idea? – while Limerick just looks slightly in shock! So I can never decide which one I like better…


Of course, most of our takes ended up along these lines:

L: Mom! It fell off again!
Me: Stop pulling it off then!

It would have been cute as well to have me holding the number 3, but that would have required another photographer so it wasn’t logistically going to happen this week. Another pair of adult hands would have simplified the process greatly though! No sooner would I position the kids and run back to the camera than they would start scooting around or becoming distracted by everything around them. I just considered myself fortunate that they were mostly happy throughout the proceedings 🙂


They were much happier when I let them run wild on the little walls and hills and explore the number boards in their own way! I have no clue how professional photographers get toddlers to look so good in posed pictures.

So… the details? Our new little one will be arriving sometime around Christmas, and we are so excited to welcome him or her into our family. I’ve been significantly moodier and queasier with this pregnancy so I have my suspicions that it may be a girl, but we’ll have to just wait and see – it could be that I’m just out of shape so my body is protesting more 🙂

I am beyond excited to be able to walk through this Advent season with Mary, growing heavy with child, pondering the mystery of the Incarnation as the mystery of new life blossoms within me (and probably aching for the pregnancy to be over like she must have been at the end as well!). It just seems like it will be a special way to experience Advent and Christmas, a new way to see the wonder and the gift of the baby Jesus. Hopefully I will be able to hold to that instead of letting stress and busyness run my days.

Head on over to the link-up at Like Mother, Like Daughter to share in each other’s everyday joys and struggles!

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – some crafting with the toddlers

The boys being very excited about painting for various and sundry reasons, I pulled out my previous finger paint recipe and took the boys outdoors with some paper and sponge brushes. (A cornstarch-based edible paint would probably be less messy and sticky, but I didn’t have enough cornstarch to make it work. So condensed milk it had to be.)





I mixed up just the primary colors to avoid ending up with just a brown mess, and I love the way the different colors combined on the paper, brushes, and sidewalk. It was also interesting seeing the different ways the boys painted: Rondel using wide sweeping strokes on the paper, blending the colors together thoroughly and without subtlety; Limerick flinging the brushes in the air above the paper to make fine strings and drips of paint below, far more into the process than the product.


Rondel absolutely loved everything about painting. He loved mixing the different colors, testing the different brushes to see what they produced on the paper, and creating something from the raw materials available. He didn’t complain once about the stickiness of the paint, even when it dripped on his legs or when he decided to paint with his fingers to see how it compared to the brushes – which is a huge deal for this little boy who is (or used to be?) so sensorily sensitive. He also didn’t panic or get upset with Limerick at all, even when they wanted the same brush or color paint. It was good to see him so involved in the process of creation that he was able to tune out or ignore the physical discomforts of a hot sidewalk and sticky paint as well as the emotional distraction of a younger brother sharing the brushes and paints.


Limerick dove into the painting process with his characteristic no-holds-barred exploratory attitude (which is one of the things I enjoy most about his personality!), dripping paint off his brush onto the papers and sidewalk with intense interest in how the paint flew and fell, with the side-effect of becoming very sticky and colorful himself… and then suddenly he realized how sticky he was and fell apart, attempting to cling to me with wriggly snuggles in his upset. Being set in the bathtub cheered him up considerably 😛


In addition to their free play exploration painting, the boys helped me with one of my projects with some acrylic paint on wood. But since I haven’t yet finished the project, all you get are the teaser photos 🙂 I promise you it’ll be a good one when it’s done, and I hope to have pictures of the final product up next week!

Head on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter today for the link-up and share your captured moments of everyday contentment with the rest of us!

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – our trip to San Diego

This past weekend we were able to drive out to visit my husband’s brother and his family in San Diego! They were incredibly gracious in opening their home to the four of us and squeezing themselves into one bedroom so we could squeeze ourselves into the other bedroom – without that hospitality, it would have been a lot harder financially for us to travel out there, and we want to try to maintain the friendship between the cousins in a way that is difficult if we only see them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the trip was a priority for us.

While the weather didn’t exactly encourage the kind of outdoor beach-y activities we’d hoped for (cold and rainy, anyone?), we did still have a great time with family. Limerick in particular loved interacting with his cousin F (who is Rondel’s age) and Rondel loved the adventure of a new city. And to my great surprise and relief, both boys handled the long car ride incredibly well; we only had to stop in Yuma both coming and going, and the boys were relatively cheerful even when they weren’t sleeping or snacking.


My in-laws have a year pass to Sea World, and used their guest passes to take us for the day. The sea turtle exhibit was one of our favorites – the kids wanted to sit and watch the fish forever! Fish always leave me amazed at God’s creativity: there are so many unique shapes and colors that you don’t see in land animals.

Rondel was also hugely impressed by the orca whales and their ability to jump right out of the water!




The sea lions were another exciting exhibit as Rondel and his cousin actually got to feed them by dropping tiny fish over the edge! It kind of looks like he is trying to climb over the edge himself though! This was also the first exhibit where Limerick (who had fallen asleep on the drive over and then woke up too early) stopped clinging to our necks and became keenly interested in what was happening around him, which made me quite happy.


The next day we attempted to go to the beach despite the cool and cloudy weather, and Rondel and his cousin had a blast running and digging in the sand. Rondel even got completely knocked over by a wave at one point and got back up with a huge smile on his face – not at all a characteristic reaction for my sensitive boy. But he has always loved the beach, from the first time he set eyes on it two summers ago, and this visit was no exception.


Limerick, on the other hand, was not impressed by the beach, which really surprised me. He is normally my adventurous and free-spirited boy, and I was expecting him to be running with cousin F up and down the sand. But I think he was just overwhelmed by it all: the roar of the wind coming in off the sea, the crash of the waves, the endless water stretching to the horizon, the unfamiliar feel of the fine, soft sand. He spent the entire time snuggled up with me or my husband 😦

The closest Limerick got to the water – see how he’s nestled up to my husband so sadly? It wasn’t like him at all.

To top off the whole weekend, my parents surprised us by deep-cleaning the entire house while we were away! There isn’t much nicer than coming home to a sparkling clean house after being gone for a few days 🙂 And so I have been basically feeling very blessed and very loved this week, basking in the friendship of our extended family and the generosity of my parents. Sometimes I think I must be the most fortunate person in the whole world, to have these people loving me so much!

Head on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter today to join the link-up and share in each others’ joy or travails from the week!

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – pretty much all real

I will be honest with you all, this was a rough week and a half. Last Tuesday we spend the morning playing at the park with the boys’ cousins – and by nap time Limerick was vomiting. And he didn’t stop for over 30 hours, most of that time losing it every 1-2 hours very violently. So then last Thursday he transitioned from one end to the other and Rondel started bringing everything back up. Both boys had low-grade fevers for a couple days and were essentially couch-ridden (I made them sick nests on the couches so they wouldn’t have to be upstairs in bed); Rondel slept for the majority of the day three days in a row, and I have never seen him that worn out and sick before in his life – which admittedly has been a rather short one, but still! It was a new mommy experience for me.

Yesterday was really the first day both boys were feeling (almost) back to normal – no diarrhea, no vomiting, and energy to get up and play for more than 10 minutes at a time. Through this whole week, I’ve been reminded of Auntie Leila’s rejoinder to consider this time of sickness as a time to sacrifice myself – my plans, my routines, my comfort – for the sake of these kids, to show them what Christ-like love is all about. As she puts it,

You know, when our children are sick, we have a wonderful opportunity to serve them in a completely different way from the way they are used to. We can take a break from all the demands of daily life — demands which include prying them away from love of self, encouraging them to serve others and take responsibility — and just take care of them. Rather than viewing this part of motherhood as a stressful chore that reveals our incompetence, we can see it as a real blessing.

It was very stressful for not to be able to clean the house, or have regular meals together, or get out of the house for the outside time that I need just as much as the boys normally do, (a lot more stressful than I would have anticipated!) and I had to keep telling myself that “love endures all things.”

Kind of humbling to realize how much of an emotional and spiritual challenge this week of sickness was to me… I’ve still got a long way to go to reach holiness! 😉


In the first days of the illness, Rondel was so concerned about his brother. He kept asking me when he would be feeling better, and what was wrong, and just wanted to comfort him with his presence. This is one of the beautiful side-effects of sickness, I think – the development of compassion in the sick child’s siblings.


But all too soon he needed his own spot on the couch 😦 When Limerick started to feel better he seemed to find a lot of happiness in helping me take care of Rondel, especially when I would let him deliver a bottle to his brother, which was adorable and sweet.



One of the happy things that sustained us during the sick times (besides endlessly blowing bubbles for Limerick) was reading books. The boys like books well enough normally, but they also like to be moving and doing things – but when they didn’t have the energy to play, the books took them out of the moment and gave them something to think about. Limerick in particular has become far more excited about reading than he was before!

demanding to read the Very Hungry Caterpillar

So there were some fun things in the middle of all the sickness – but all in all we are all extremely glad to have the blankets and sheets washed and off the couches, and a sense of normalcy and order restored to family life. I’m sure the boys are even more glad not to be hurting and sick anymore!

I really hope that you all had a better week than we did! And don’t forget to join me over at Like Mother, Like Daughter for the link-up today 🙂

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – the gift of family

This week has had some highlights and some rough spots, and both of them have emphasized to me the goodness and beauty of family.

At the beginning of the week, my husband’s brother (the oldest, and the only one of the five brothers that lives out of state) came back into town for a few days, so the five of them had a night out and I invited my two sisters-in-law with children to come up to our place for dinner and to give the cousins a chance to spend time together. It was really a fabulous evening 🙂 We had ribs and watermelon (easy for me to throw together in a crockpot since this all happened on a 10 hour work day, but maybe in hindsight not the neatest meal when there aren’t enough chairs for all the toddlers) and then took the kids outside to play in the water on what was conveniently the warmest day of the year thus far. With six kids ages three and under, outside play was far less stressful and more fun than inside play would have been!


my local sister-in-law, with the current youngest cousin, just 3 months old!

My sisters-in-law are some of the sweetest and godliest women I know – I really am blessed to have them in my extended family through our marriages. It was such a pleasure for me to able to have this time with both of them, even if it did end up mostly centered on the kids! My out-of-state sister-in-law (hyphen overload, my goodness) has shared a lot of parenting wisdom with me over social media, and it was really awesome to see her put it into practice with her daughter during our time together.


And my worries that the cousins would end up having a lot of conflict proved utterly groundless. They all seemed so at ease with each other, and enjoyed the time playing with each other. When they had all left and I shut and locked the front door, Rondel looked up at me and asked, “open door so cousins come back in?” It was so adorable 🙂



In the smaller context of the immediate family, I’ve been so thankful that my boys have each other, to balance each other out and to give each of them a different personality to bounce against and play with and learn about conflict and friendship with. Whatever kind of sibling struggles you may have in childhood, your siblings end up being the people who are still part of your life in adulthood, when other friends have moved on or drifted away. So right now, one of my biggest goals for my boys is to help them learn to love each other well, whether in play, conflict, or service. We did a lot of playing together this week:




Rondel climbed in, so Limerick climbed in too! And this time, it was Rondel’s idea for Limerick to join him, and Limerick thought it sounded like fun. Cloth diapers in laundry baskets are apparently pretty awesome to wiggle down into and bury one’s legs in 🙂 Then Rondel decided to hug one of the diapers, so of course Limerick had to do that too! He loves to do whatever his big brother is doing – and his big brother is starting to pick up on it, and occasionally tries to encourage him to copy him doing something silly.

(Also, yes, I’m aware of the sharp kitchen knife casually lying on the floor next to them… Rondel was using it, under supervision, to cut the banana that Limerick was finished with.)


We’re finishing off this week, that started so well, with a nasty stomach bug. So far no one’s been sick except for Limerick, and we’re hoping it stays that way, because one miserably sick vomiting person in a household is enough!

But his sickness has made me realize again how blessed I am by my family, and how valuable family support truly is. When Limerick first got sick yesterday, it was about 30 minutes before I was supposed to leave for work, and I already had the boys at my parents’ house so my mom could watch them for the afternoon. And I could go to work without feeling guilty because I knew that she would be able to care for Limerick with all the common sense of an experienced mother and all the doting love of a grandmother. I could borrow clean clothes from her to wear to work so I didn’t have to drive all the way back home first. I didn’t have to worry about making dinner to feed the rest of us because my brother made dinner for the whole family at my parents’ house. We were incredibly buoyed up by their presence and support on a difficult day.

Today again, watching both boys after I got home from work, I saw how beautiful family could be when Limerick, who had otherwise been just lying wherever I put him with a tired and zoned-out expression on his face, broke into a smile and actually started laughing because of Rondel’s silly antics around him. I saw the power of brotherly love when Rondel came up to his sick brother and covered him in kisses and hugs, and lay down beside him on the bed to snuggle to “help him feel better.” I’m sure it didn’t help physically, but I’m equally sure that it helped Limerick emotionally.

how Limerick has looked since about noon on Tuesday, with intermittent bouts of sleep, vomiting, and crying; only Rondel can really make him smile.

It makes me so happy that they have each other, to share laughter and silliness, and to learn compassion and love.

Head on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter today to join the link-up or just to be encouraged and encourage others, as we all try to figure out this marriage-and-parenting-and-striving-for-holiness-in-Christ thing together 🙂

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – mostly sweet potatoes

I got some pictures of our baby sweet potatoes in the garden!

{pretty} and {happy}

One of the little slips didn’t make it – I think it was just too small to be transplanted – but I kept one of the purple potatoes and both orange potatoes in their jars anyway, so I’ll be able to replant in that location when the more sluggish slips have reached a better size.


Right now, they look like they’re doing rather well! Even the orange potatoes, which have been slower to root, have a few slips with both good little leaves and decent-sized roots, so maybe I will plant them sometime this upcoming week.


Of course, the difficulty with having those tiny new plants in the garden is that the boys have to show some caution now when digging in the dirt. Rondel is pretty good at understanding the idea of being gentle with the baby plants, but Limerick seems a bit more oblivious… I just hope they will learn and that the sweet potatoes will survive!



Apart from the garden, Rondel’s sense of humor has been growing all the time. Last night he came running out of the bathroom with an extra pair of underwear asking to wear both. When we told him that only one pair would fit on his bottom at a time, he decided the other pair should go on his head! And he found another hat to top off the ensemble:


I think the laughter he brings just might make up for the sleep deprivation he causes…

What’s been going on in your world? Head on over to the link up at Like Mother, Like Daughter to share with everyone else!

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – working in the garden

For the first time in my desert gardening adventure, I’m going to be attempting a crop over the summer. Our scorching days not being particularly friendly to most plants, I’ve avoided the summer so far – but this year, we’re going to be planting sweet potatoes! I’ll have to take another picture of the slips I started soon, because they’re really starting to take off, especially the purple potatoes, which have the most beautiful red-veined leaves.

Anyway, to grow sweet potatoes we needed to seriously amend our soil, because the native soil where we live is the kind of clay you can build with – dense, compacted, hard, and thick: pretty much the opposite of what root vegetables need! So we spent Saturday mixing in two huge sacks full of compost from a local farm into our raised bed, and the boys, particularly Rondel, had a wonderful time exploring the dirt and helping with the work.



He was so focused and engaged with the task at hand! He first helped me water the mint and oregano, which we had to transplant to the trench garden from the raised bed to make room for the sweet potatoes, and the continued to water the dirt in the raised bed as we mixed in the compost. We had the kiddie pool filled up in case anyone needed to cool off, since Saturday was pretty warm, and it provided Rondel with a way to fill up the watering can on his own.


In addition to wanting to help with the tasks of preparing the garden, Rondel couldn’t resist sticking his hands in the dirt and discovering what it felt like at various stages of wetness, from completely dry all the way to soggy mud.

The garden has always been his happy place, where he pushes his sensory boundaries and lets his imagination run wild, and I absolutely love seeing him get dirty and sweaty and so incredibly captivated by natural things. This is our little piece of nature in the midst of the city, and something about it speaks to his heart.


Limerick also wanted to use the watering can, once Rondel put it down, and after a while he kind of got the hang of it – but at first he just turned it upside down like a bucket:



Aside from the watering can diversion, however, Limerick was not thrilled about our family time in the garden. He was tired and hungry and generally grumpy, and constantly demanded bubbles.

have you tried taking pictures of bubbles as you’re blowing them? it’s more luck than anything that one of these bubbles managed to be in focus…

And it’s so hard to say no to him because I always wonder if I’m just saying no because of my own selfishness and laziness instead of for a legitimate reason, and because he sometimes gets very fixated on things and has a lot of trouble moving on to something else when I say no. It’s hard not to pull out the bubbles when your baby is crying for them and it’s not a difficult activity to share with him – but on the other hand, I don’t want him to think that he can get whatever he wants by crying for it. Right now I’m trying to be firm with boundaries that I care more about and just caving on the bubbles… I do love bubbles myself anyways…

Head on over to the linkup at Like Mother, Like Daughter today to share some more everyday joy and contentment!

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – roller coaster parenting

Parenting is quite the sequence of ups and downs. One night the boys help me clean up all their toys, snuggle up for stories after their bath, and fall asleep peacefully and quickly; the next night the space between dinner and bed is punctuated by a meltdown every five minutes, bedtime itself turns into a two-hour battle, and the house still looks like a tornado hit it by the time I manage to fall asleep.

Last night being one of the good nights (in fact, one of the best, as I re-convinced my 2.5 year old that books are amazing by selecting some slightly more advanced classics and reading them with character voices), it’s tempting to feel like I’ve got this parenting thing down! Of course, however, that would be a delusion remarkably blind to even just the past week of family life…


But let’s start with the positives from the past week, because they did exist even on the hardest days.


On Friday I remembered to pick up some sweet potatoes during our grocery run and started rooting some slips for our summer garden! The two on the left are normal orange sweet potatoes (Red Garnets or whatever standard variety the grocery store carries) and the two on the right are purple sweet potatoes. They’re a bit starchier and less sweet than the orange, and Rondel loves them – but as they tend to be expensive we hardly ever buy them. Hopefully this foray into potato gardening is a success! I have a feeling we will have our whole tiny yard covered in vines and leaves and nothing to show for it under the soil…

But for now, we are excitedly watching the potatoes begin to shoot thin white roots out into the water in their jars! The purple potatoes are proving more prolific in the rooting department, but there’s already activity (less than a week after setting these up) in all four jars. The site I found made it sound like there would be both roots and leaves within a few weeks, and at that time I plan to plant the slips as even the cold nights will be a faint memory by that point.



Despite Rondel having a rather exhausting cold (his sensitivities increase exponentially when he’s sick, and he can’t stand the feel of his nose running even the slightest bit, so our days were a continual refrain of high-pitched moans of “wipe nose!”), I took the boys out to the park Saturday morning just to get them out of the house. Limerick had serious cabin fever, and even Rondel was feeling just better enough that some time running around significantly helped his mood. Sometimes I think some sort of physical activity must be a basic human need for the proper functioning of the mind and emotions… it’s true for most of the people I know, at any rate, and even more true for those of us prone to depression and anxiety.

Anyway, Rondel spent most of the time literally running up and down the sidewalks pushing his dump truck, while Limerick tested his balancing abilities by walking on all the curbs. Then Rondel discovered that his truck would roll all the way down the hill if he gave it a bit of a push at the top, and the two of them ran gleefully after it all the way down, until it crashed into a bush at the bottom. This was then repeated many times, to the great happiness of all involved 🙂


Did you notice the sweatshirts on the boys in the pictures above? Just a few hours later, they were attired much differently:

Arizona spring weather is just as inconsistent and changing as those feelings of parenting success or failure… one minute we’re all bundled up and the next we’re playing in the water wearing shoes because the concrete is too hot to stand on!

Also funny (to me anyway): Limerick is currently quite obsessed with pouring water on himself, and with oranges. I have no clue why oranges are so incredibly fascinating…


This is Limerick, thoroughly enjoying himself with his cousins at the zoo:


And where was Rondel?

Curled up in the stroller, disconsolate, asking if we could please go home so he could take a nap – because it was the first morning he was sick and I didn’t realize it before we had packed up to go out with the cousins as planned. So in addition to putting him through a miserable morning (it was cold, overcast, and windy – great for running around, not so great for sitting in a stroller feeling sick), I spread the cold to my niece and nephew. I suppose it’s always good to have bad parenting days to keep us from getting arrogant about the good ones… so much depends on getting a few spur-of-the-moment decisions right. But that doesn’t make it feel any better when it happens!

Head on over to the link-up today at Like Mother Like Daughter to be encouraged and share everyday contentment with everyone else!

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – easter 2016

Christmas is a relatively easy holiday to explain to small children, because it involves the birth of a baby, and little kids immediately relate to that and get excited about that. Easter, with its requisite understanding of death, is a bit harder. I didn’t try to heavy-handedly force the story down my kids’ throats this year; I just introduced the people and the events, and began to populate Holy Week with church and family traditions that will hopefully give them a sense of the importance of the holiday even when they can’t really understand it yet.

So on Good Friday we made our hot cross buns, read together, and went to the service that evening. On Saturday we made Easter cookies (much easier to handle with two little boys than Easter egg coloring, and tastier in the end since none of us really care for hard boiled eggs) and had a low-key meal with my parents; I don’t know if it carried over for the kids, but for me the day was filled with a sense of hushed anticipation that I really hadn’t felt on this Saturday in the past. And on Easter I tried to fill every part of the day with a specialness, an excitement, a celebration! We went to church in the morning of course, after letting the boys enjoy some Easter treats at home, and then drove up to my in laws’ house to celebrate with the extended family.

{pretty} and {happy}


My FIL set up an Easter egg hunt for all the little cousins in their backyard, and it was quite a success 🙂 Honestly, I think my boys would have been excited to find just one egg and discover it to be full of chocolate or goldfish crackers – finding 4 or 5 each was extraordinary happiness. They didn’t quite have the knack for spotting and collecting the eggs that their cousins did, but they took such delight in each egg that they didn’t even notice, much less care, that they’d found fewer eggs overall. It made me wonder how many times I’ve lost my enjoyment in something completely gratuitous and fun, like these eggs, just because someone else did “better” than me… I hope that in future I can have the same innocent joy in the experience that my boys showed me here.


This has to be one of the best simple “grandma’s house” kind of toys out there:

Both boys climbed on it over and over again. Rondel figured out how to go up one side and down the other; Limerick managed to get up to the top but then would come back down the same way he went up. He ended up finding out he could slide down in between two of the rungs, which was apparently fun, but then he would be stuck and cry for someone to pull him back up and out of the ladder. And then he would climb back and do it all again…



This is Limerick’s suspicious look (with a mouth full of crackers) as he eyes my in-laws’ dog, who had been sneaking goldfish whenever Limerick looked away. I don’t think he really grasped what was happening, but he knew something was up… we eventually persuaded him to move his eggs off the ground so the dog wouldn’t be able to steal it so easily.


I didn’t really get a picture of this, but the reality of the day was that the boys didn’t get good naps, and were worn out by the excitement and lack of routine. Something I’ve learned in the past couple years, with Rondel, is that all the best plans and fun activities are pointless if I don’t factor in enough time to let my kids acclimate to the changes of the holiday and process all the different stimuli coming at them. With this in mind, we had planned to arrive at my in-laws house early so that the boys could nap there before the rest of the family arrived, and be comfortable in the environment before it was filled with people – but when we got there, we discovered that they had changed the locks and forgotten to give us a copy of the new key. Not the best thing to find with two tired boys who were very much looking forward to going inside their grandparents’ house…

I think it was by God’s grace that I was able to stay calm and help the boys (Rondel especially) adjust and relax, and it wasn’t too long before they were able to enjoy the time and the family despite their tiredness and the challenges of the day. Knowing my own propensity towards anxiety and worst-case-scenario thinking, I really am thankful that we were able to have a great time celebrating the Resurrection together as a family and overcome the logistical issues along the way.

Head on over to the link-up at Like Mother, Like Daughter and share your Easter as well!