March 24th!?! That was the date of my first (last) post & despite the very best of intentions, radio silence ensued. I will try and do better.
Easter was busy, wonderful but busy. On Saturday my husband, Jeff, our 4 year old boxer, Izzie, and our 6 month old (as of Sunday!) daughter, Julia, headed to Platteville to visit my parents–a just under 3 hour trip from our home. As we like to roll at the last minute we attempted to pick up a ham at Honeybaked Ham to serve for our Easter dinner we would be hosting the next day. Our Honeybaked ham is located at a nondescript nearby strip mall–upon pulling into the lot Saturday morning I was surprised by the level of activity, a circus-like atmosphere. Um, those crowds were decidedly NOT on scene for the Curves fitness club, no these were people queuing up to enter Honeybaked Ham! The line of people snaked through the lot was simply too discouraging so we decided to procure a grocery store ham later and be on our way. Last minute, hurray! We were exhausted from not accomplishing our first en route task so of course we pulled into a Starbucks for liquid energy. In addition to Jeff’s coffee and my hot tea we took care of the beverage order for the vehicle behind us in the drive-thru line. Felt good to ‘pay it forward’ and like an appropriate way to kick off our Easter weekend. After we exited the line we pulled into a parking space to get situated, check on the baby, make a phone call, etc. The family we gifted the beverages to, pulled into the spot next to us in order to thank us–which was simultaneously embarrassing and gratifying. It was clear that our simple act had made their day which in turn made ours–best $10.00 we’ve spent in a long time! The rest of our trip was uneventful, well until the last 30 minutes or so at which point Julia began crying. She is not a huge fan of riding in the car so I was actually pleased she was able to sleep for the first couple of hours–it made the home stretch incredibly stressful, nothing is worse than an inconsolable child.
We had a nice day with my parents–they had a lovely meal for us served on my late grandmother’s china which as always brought back so many memories for me as we always had Easter lunch at my Grandma B’s house served on that very china. Before we sat down to eat I nursed Julia for a bit and then had my dad serve her some rice cereal out of a seasonally appropriate Peter Rabbit bowl. Julia is the only grandchild on my side and it is so sweet to see my parents interact with her, their adoration is palpable. After lunch my dad took Julia out for her inaugural ride in her baby jogger–this was a BIG moment as dad, a long time runner, has had knee issues that have kept him mostly sidelined for the past year. As he has rehabbed his knee his goal has been the dream of taking his granddaughter out in her jogger. I suspect it kept him motivated to do the special stretches he was assigned and to spend all those early morning sessions swimming in the pool. The ride was short but went without a hitch, Julia seemed to enjoy herself and dad was positively exhilarated (no exaggeration). The only blot on the experience was that Izzie (who has gone jogging with dad many times) unhappily saw them leave without her & was visibly distressed. Jeff and I planned to take her for a walk but before we were able to get our jackets and her leash together she pushed open the screen door with her snout and raced across a VERY busy street to join dad and Julia. I am so very thankful that disaster did not occur and we were able to catch up to her and leash her up without further incident.
We left for home early in the evening in order to return in time for Julia’s 8 PM bedtime. Unfortunately Julia was over riding in the car so there was no 2 hour grace period for our return trip! She fussed/cried/screamed the entire trip home punctuated by oh so brief periods of calm. Nothing in my diaper bag of tricks worked–she had ZERO interest in any of the rattles or teethers we had brought along. In desperation I began rooting through our vehicle for baby-friendly distractions–two hits (I use that descriptor loosely) were a notepad of post-its and an empty Diet Coke bottle. These both created some much needed respites from the screaming. We were all happy to get home!
Sunday morning Jeff picked up his son (he lives about 30 minutes from us with his mom) early. Poor guy was exhausted from a sleep over he had had the night before so we promised him a post-church nap. We all got dressed up and walked to church–we are very fortunate that we found a church that we love that is literally 2 blocks from our home. During the service the weather deteriorated so we definitely got our heart rates up as we speed walked home umbrella-less in a downpour! Jeff and Rof (my step-son) napped while I got some housework done and tended to Julia. Oh, and I should mention that we were no longer sans ham as Jeff picked one up before church.
The Easter Bunny was good to both kids. Julia’s basket had been purchased at Williams-Sonoma–a nice sturdy white wicker with a pretty personalized liner–her name in pink next to a bunny rabbit. It was filled with toys and books–The Runaway Bunny and Home for a Bunny both by Margaret Wise Brown, a Sophie the Giraffe, a ball shaped rattle and a toy to attach to her car seat (in case she fatigues of her notepad). The, uh, Easter Bunny wanted to do something special for Rof’s basket–not always easy to come up with something clever for an almost 13 year old. Luckily the Easter Bunny has a Pinterest account and was able to find a fun theme–“movie theater”. Instead of traditional Easter candy the Easter Bunny chose movie theater candy and as the ‘big’ present a gift certificate to a movie theater. Oh and some microwave popcorn. But the Easter Bunny, although not at all crafty, got very Pinterest-spired and decided to use the theater candy to fashion the basket. Numerous pins proclaimed this to be an easy and quick craft. The Easter Bunny had forgotten how many times these proclamations have proved false in previous craft attempts and was optimistic. It was an utter failure as movie theater candy does not come in uniform sizes which is a problem when assembling the walls of the basket. Additionally the Easter Bunny only had rubber cement in the house in way of glue which although it made the Easter bunny nostalgic for childhood, it was in no way shape or form strong enough for the task of candy basket construction! So the Easter Bunny wiped her paws of the project and threw the candy, popcorn and gift card into an existing basket and called it done. Luckily both children seemed pleased with their baskets!
Jeff’s mom and stepdad arrived later in the afternoon and we had a nice meal with them which included a reappearance of my grandmother’s china (my mom and I both own identical sets some pieces of which were actually from my Grandma’s collections and the rest was found at various antique shops). My MIL had baskets for both children which was fun. At the end of the day I looked at Julia who had completed her very first Easter and maybe it didn’t match the picture in my head–in my mind her Easter dress wouldn’t have been so crumpled (an occupational hazard when every 5 minutes you stuff it into your mouth!) her white tights wouldn’t have been so filthy, maybe she wouldn’t have had on the sunhat she had received in the Easter basket from my MIL and she definitely wouldn’t have been so overtired and cranky! However, although my reality didn’t line up with preconceived notions, Pinterest pins and certainly not a spread in my beloved Martha Stewart Living magazine it was infinitely better as it was real. So many sweet moments–watching my step-son sing a hymn in church, seeing my daughter smile up at her grandmother, my husband carving the long awaited Easter ham…real life treasures.