April 23rd, 2019: Easter weekend, birthday celebrations & epic Easter egg hunts.
When I was leaving for work I Friday I challenged the kids to do something unselfish for the day – since it was Good Friday and Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us a little over 2 thousand years ago on what would become Good Friday. I grew up keeping silent and praying between the hours of noon and three PM on Good Friday – and still do so to this day. So I was pleased to find out that the kids did, in-fact, use the time to do something unselfish. When I came home I found out that they had planned & prepared a really fun and challenging Easter Egg hunt for Melani & I! Inside the hidden eggs were some WONDERFUL gifts! We now have coupons for having the kids help with any chore, watching Sophie for a few hours and the like! Great coupons – and ones we will definitely use ( and maybe even photo copy multiple times – so we have a nearly endless supply of such coupons!).
Friday evening we ATTEMPTED to play a family game (me, Gracie, Dominick & Annie). They chose the Catopoly version of Monopoly. I don’t know why they seem to always choose that game – since it takes sooOOOoo long to play! What generally happens is that one- by-one the kids get knocked out of the game and end up teaming up with me (So one will be in charge of rolling the dice, one in charge of collecting rents, one in charge of purchases, etc). After the final kid falls to the Williamson Enterprises Realty Team – We call in my sweet & lovely wife Melani (who also has exactly ZERO killer instinct). We usually give her a ridiculous amount of cash and just a few token properties. Then we, as a team, run her out of town and bankrupt her! I know! Good wholesome family fun – right? We can’t wait until Sophie is able to join in the fray!
Well, that is not exactly what happened this time! Gracie wanted to form a Survivor style “Alliance”. Then Annie wanted to join. Soon there was an alliance reserve fund which everyone in the alliance had contributed. Dominick was feeling like everyone was ganging up on him, so I argued for his inclusion in the alliance (even though it makes no sense to play the game with no adversary). Once Dominick was in the alliance – Gracie was a little annoyed. Dominick moved to form a sub-alliance with me and soon there were sub-sub alliances…. Well, you get the point.
Things devolved quickly – and we ended up “Suspending” the game. That is where we note where everyone is and separately wrap-up in rubber bands everyone’s property and cash. This is done so we can finish the game at some point in the future. I think we are going to need to convince Melani to step into this game early- so all my alliances and sub-alliances can treat her as a common enemy….
Saturday started out slowly and we didn’t really do anything in the morning. Hey – everyone needs some down-time!
In the afternoon I took all the older kids to a presentation from a graphic novelist (read that – cartoon artist / authur). He (Alexis E. Fajardo – Kid Beowulf) was a good speaker and really held the kids’ attention! After the presentation he showed the kids how to draw some of his characters. It was fun to see them interested in drawing again – because we had just watched that TED talk on drawing in early March (See Blog post here: Weekend Update – Dingleberries & Drawings. March 7th, 2019 Highlights). They haven’t read any of his books yet – but may in the near future. I never know where their curiosity might lead them!
Later in the afternoon we spent some time outside. I worked on enlarging the garden and boxing it in. I also spent some time cleaning out the garage. Gracie & Dominick helped me – and I really appreciated their help!
Sunday – Easter
The kids woke up and were pleased to find their Easter baskets full of some toys & treats! The Easter Bunny had also colluded (like what I did there?!) with Mistletoe our elf (who I suspect might just be a RUSSIAN elf….) – to hide some eggs in the house for the kids to find. Sophie wasn’t too much into the whole thing – which was a little disappointing….
We had a pretty dress all picked out for Sophie to wear to church – but she was less than pleasantly opposed to the whole idea. Even as we headed off to church (with her NOT wearing the dress – mind you ) she was still being – ah – let’s say difficult. So I stood outside the church while she proceeded with her melt down. That kid has zero focus issues – because even 45 minutes later – she still remembered that it was all about the shirt we made her wear! I was talking to Sister Carol Anne for a while – just holding this screaming child. Sister kept asking me how I was able to genuinely remain so patient! We had a wonderful and enlightening conversation that spanned many topics – and extended throughout the entire mass. Sophie did eventually stop screaming (about 45 minutes into the mass)- but would not agree to go into the church with me. She sat brooding underneath the statute of Saint Francis (See location of statue in picture above) – not even looking at me. Sister assured me that I had most certainly met my obligation to attend mass for Easter Sunday – maybe even more so than some of those people sitting in the pews!
On the way home from church Melani commented that she hadn’t heard me say the “F” word in quiet a while. It’s probably not the “F” word that first comes to mind for you- but rather Forsythia. Melani claims that both my mother and I say that word a lot more often than “normal” people…. Well – things are starting to bloom – so it is likely she will hear the dreaded “F” word a least a few time before spring is over!
After a quick pit-stop at the house we were off to my mother-in-law’s house for Easter Sunday Brunch. Sophie was good – since she had previously squandered her daily allotment of “naughty” for the day at church ! It was a good visit with Melani’s mother and some of the family’s friends!
We left my mother-in-law’s house mid-afternoon and headed over to my brother’s house for an early dinner. It was nice to spend some time with him and his family. A fun visit for all of us! The kids had their second Easter Egg hunt of the day – and played some games after dinner.
Unfortunately, that didn’t really leave anytime for my annual Epic Easter Egg & Treasure hunt…
The kids had Monday off from school – but I had to go into work. I did manage to leave a little early – and we finally got to do my annual Epic Easter Egg & Treasure Hunt! This year I kept Melani in-the-dark about what I had planned – so she could participate too. I was really pleased with how much fun everyone had. Especially Gracie – who seems to really share my sense of humor! You can read more about the Epic Easter Egg Hunt here: Chip’s 2019 Epic Easter Egg & Treasure Hunt!
We always seem to fall somewhat shy of our goals for the weekend – and this one was no different. We did not get together the Lenten Rice bowls before Easter Sunday mass – so we will have to wrap those up this week and hope that they will be able to take them next Sunday. We were rough on the kids with regards to penalizing them for certain behaviors in the beginning of Lent – so their voluntary contributions to their rice bowls may be less than their involuntary portion – at least for some of the kids.
We are also struggling with Annie’s near obsession with SLIME! The kid sneaks off to make it and seems to be constantly playing with it. You might think that is not a big deal – but it does damage wood and fabric if left on it! Annie even watches YouTube videos about slime. I am hoping this is only a fad and that she will move on from this – or maybe she really is a budding little chemist??
Also, just last week I mentioned to Melani that Gracie & Dominick were just about Sophie’s age when they had started stuttering. They both stuttered for about 8 – 12 weeks. We were always patient with them and tried our best to give them our undivided attention while they tried to get the words out of their mouths. Being a patient person – It was not that difficult for me to do. What was funny was that just a year after Gracie had been stuttering – Dominick started stuttering. And Dominick was the worst – because sometimes it would literally take almost 2 minutes for him to get even just one word out of his mouth!
The person who had no patience for Dominick’s stuttering was Gracie! She would tell Dominick to “spit it out already!” I remember specifically reminding Gracie that just a year before SHE was the one that was stuttering – and we never talked to her like that! She had a hard time believing that – since it was a relatively short period of time that she stuttered.
About 4 days after I had mentioned the stuttering thing to Melani – wouldn’t you know – Sophie started stuttering!
I explained to the kids that all of them stuttered – and that they should all be patient with Sophie and it would pass soon enough. I explained that the part of Sophie’s brain that comes up with what she wants to say was developing faster that the part of the brain that controls her lips and tongue – so she has a hard time forming the words for what she wants to say.
Annie then reminded me that she never stuttered – and I felt like she was worried that she wasn’t as smart as Gracie & Dominick. I told her that that was most certainly NOT the case. I reminded her that she has always been the one that has been the most physically capable at every age. Annie was the only one that was running, even on uneven surfaces, at the age of just 10 months! So in her brain the part that is responsible for forming the words has always been able to keep up with the part of the brain that comes up with what she wanted to say or communicate!
I actually find Sophie’s stuttering endearing – but maybe that is just because having two kids go through it – I now know that it will pass soon enough. I do like that I get to look at that wonderfully cute little face for few more moments every time she talks to me – since it takes her longer to get the words out of her mouth. I also feel like the stuttering makes this fiercely independent & tough little kid just a little more vulnerable right now – and extending her a little more patience draws us a little closer…
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Enjoy the spring flowers!