Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Weekend

This past weekend was filled with plenty of people, celebrations, and preparations. Unfortunately, I spent far more energy checking off items on my to-do list rather than celebrating the risen Lord and enjoying the company of family.

One of the more exciting tasks on our list was dog-sitting. Our next door neighbors were out of town and we had the pleasure of feeding and walking their dog multiple times a day. While we all loved playing with the dog, I remain adamant about not getting a dog. We don't have the time to commit to be good dog owners. It was awfully fun for the weekend, though. 

My favorite Easter tradition, the annual Robinson egg hunt, took place on Saturday afternoon. My aunt and uncle are gracious enough to stuff and hide hundreds of eggs on their enormous property. I absolutely love seeing all of the cousins together!

The kids had a blast outside, despite gray clouds and a few rain drops. The trio needed little prompting to find the eggs. They were all eager to hunt the eggs.

The best part of family gatherings is watching my older nieces and nephews care for the kids. The older cousins take care of the younger cousins so well.

After the egg hunt, we drove an hour to celebrate Easter with Jesse's family. We gorged on a delicious traditional dinner of ham, mac-n-cheese, green beans, potato salad, and rolls. The cousins played with one another. Of course, MiMi and PaPa gave them Easter baskets full of goodies. I hardly took any pictures, but it was a fun evening.

Despite a very full day, Jesse and I had a long night ahead of us once we returned home and put the kids to bed. Jesse had to replace our garbage disposal. (The other one died and we couldn't run the dishwasher or use the left side of the sink until it was fixed.) I had last minute preparations for the church egg hunt. I ended up waiting in line at Walmart for over 30 minutes. It was a mess. Jesse stuffed eggs with Teddy Grahams and Cheez-Its and filled baskets; then I hid the eggs around the house. Throughout my childhood, my mom hid candy throughout the house. My sisters and I have continued this tradition with our own children.

Easter morning at home was rushed. Jackson knew they weren't allowed downstairs until everyone was awake. We woke everyone up by 8 a.m. so they could find their eggs together. James was the only one who collected eggs. Jackson, Amelia, and Maddie immediately found their baskets and went through everything. We didn't even bother fixing pancakes because we anticipated the kids would eat their snacks, then have muffins at church.

The greatest stress and anticipation of Easter weekend was the church egg hunt. As the Christian Education coordinator, it was my sole responsibility to:
  • Publicize the event--create and distribute hundreds of flyers, make announcements at church and in the bulletin
  • Select a book for read-a-loud, find someone to read the book during the egg hunt
  • Select a craft for children, gather all materials, find someone to lead crafts during egg hunt
  • Select songs and find someone to lead sing-along during egg hunt
  • Select a game for children to play, find materials and someone to lead game (i.e. parachute)
  • Purchase 500+ toy egg fillers, find helpers to stuff 500 eggs with me
  • Create a sign-up sheet and ask congregation members to bring juice, muffins, etc
  • Ask teenagers to hide eggs on Easter morning
  • Set up all rooms, go over plans with volunteers
  • Make sure children are welcomed and participating in activities, monitor time
  • Clean up

The biggest factor I could not control was the weather. After days of beautiful weather, Easter morning was cool and dreary. Despite taping flyers to hundreds of doors and passing them out to classrooms and daycares, we only had 20 children in attendance. (Of course, four of those were our children!) I am hoping the rainy weather was the cause of low participation. Still, the families that were there had a good time.

We kept most of the activities inside. 

I surveyed the parents there and none seemed to mind if we held the egg hunt outside, even though the grass was wet. It's always exciting yet disappointing to see so many hours of work disappear in five minutes.

I was the only family member to actually attend the church service. The trio stayed in the nursery while Jesse and Jackson ran home to check on the dog and grab refrigerated items for our Easter lunch with my side of the family. The church service was lovely. Easter lilies, music selections, handbells, communion, and a presentation from the quilters club increased the beauty and meaning of the service.

Our favorite elderly couple attended. They are the reason we joined the church, and they've taught me more about how to lead a Godly life than any sermon.

After the service we wrapped up our Easter festivities with lunch at my sister's house. We kept it quick and easy with sandwiches. I apparently didn't take any pictures.

I cannot end the post without acknowledging how supportive and exceptional Jesse was throughout the weekend. There were so many things he could have been upset about: the disaster I left in the kitchen after cooking and baking all the Easter treats, the lack of a working garbage disposal, the fact that I focused more on other children than our own during the church egg hunt, the subpar lunch, the rain, the added drive times to go check on the dog, and on and on. Not to mention all of the weekend's festivities revolved around a holiday that he does not believe in at all. Thankfully, he was nothing but calm and patient--staying up late to stuff eggs, turning the van back around when I forgot the craft materials, and wrangling three toddlers and a preschooler through a busy church event.

The children had constant smiles plastered to their faces throughout the egg hunts, dog walks, and family visits. It was a fun, albeit occasionally stressful, weekend.

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