We went to the library, played at the park, had friends over for playdates, and tried a new interactive art center in Idaho Falls called The Artitorium. My friend Katie met us there with her four little ones and our kids played for four hours. They liked doing the craft and coloring, but the highlights were the giant indoor yellow slide and the green room where they could make movies and music videos.
Most of the activities were too advanced for Tommy but he enjoyed playing with the touch screen computers and riding the slide with his sisters. Near the end of the day he found a tube and started hitting balls with it. He is a boy through and through.
After the Artitorium, I took the kids out for a nice lunch at Olive Garden. Jeremy gave me a gift card for my birthday so I decided to treat the kids. They ordered pizza and apple juice with sides of broccoli and red grapes. Pretty much some of their most favorite foods. Everyone ate happily. People in the restaurant commented on the girls beautiful hair and how well behaved everyone was. All that good behavior wore the kids out, they all fell asleep in the car on the way home.
I feel like there is so much magic and tradition surrounding Christmas; and in our LDS culture, Easter is not as anticipated or cherished. I see my friends of other faiths observing Lent, Ash Wednesday, and Holy Week. It is a beautiful time of reconciliation to Christ and meditation and celebration for those who truly embrace it. While I like to think that Christ and His atonement are part of our every day life and family religious practice, I'm just not sure how much our children are really absorbing. I decided to make the days leading up to Easter a little more special for our children. Each night before scripture time, we did an activity to talk about Christ's ministry, Easter and the atonement. One night we gave all the kids swedish fish and small pieces of bread and we talked about the miracle of the loaves and the fishes and out Christ "feeds" us today. One night we gave all the kids one dollar an asked them how they would want to spend it. Then we told them the story of the young rich man who couldn't leave his worldly wealth even if it meant eternal life. We explained to the kids that having money is not a bad thing, there is so much good we can do with money. But if we love money more than we love following the teachings of Christ, we will not inherit eternal life. Then we talked about ways they could use their money to bless others. In the end, everyone got to keep their dollar and spend it or save it however they wanted to. Another night we read a book titled "In the Garden" about Christ's last days on earth. Lily was a little emotional as we talked about the crucifixion and Christ's suffering. The next night we read Mosiah 3:17 and talked about how salvation only comes through Christ and belief on His name. I made the kids peanut butter play dough and practiced spelling Jesus' name. Lily also made a cross and an empty tomb with her dough - that's our little over achiever. Friday night we talked a little more about the crucifixion and how Jesus had to die in order to begin the next part of his mission - resurrection. We each wrote our names on a piece of paper and talked about how Jesus died for each of us individually. Then we made a cross out of the papers. Saturday we wanted to take the kids to the temple grounds and read from the Doctrine and Covenants about how Christ ministered to the souls in the spirit world before his resurrection. Then explain to the kids that today we provide the opportunity for those in the spirit world to receive the ordinances they need to live with Heavenly Father forever. It was a good thought, but with conference, birthday parties, and very cold weather, that part didn't happen. I am glad we did what we did. The girls seemed to learn from it. I am going to fine tune it and try to get everything I need for next year organized a little earlier. Plus add to it more events from Holy Week. I think it really made a difference this year for the girls.
To try and help with maintaining more reverence on Easter Sunday, we did our egg hunt and baskets on Saturday morning. The kids were super excited to open their baskets and eat their candy.
The favorite items this year were little stuffed animal bunnies from Puna and Papa, and hula hoops from the Easter bunny.
Between conference sessions, we had our family egg hunt. The city ones are a little brutal and the candy isn't that great. We decided to just have a quiet one at home. Tommy didn't want to be out in the wind. It took a lot of coaxing to get him searching for eggs. Once he figured out the eggs had candy inside, he was more willing to seek them out. Puna and Papa brought a golden egg this year. Mommy put $5 inside it. Lily was sure she would find it. But Annie beat her to it. She was so excited. Lily was very disappointed, but she had good sportsmanship. Annie has no idea how much $5 can buy she keeps telling everyone she found 5 cents. She'll probably end up sharing it with Lily in the end because Annie has such a giving heart.
We threw a triple birthday party for Tommy, Mommy, and Puna. It was fun to celebrate together. Tommy loved his Buzz Lightyear and Woody toys from Mom and Dad. And he really loves his tractor from Puna and Papa. He's not quite tall enough to drive it on his own, but he can fit in the cargo bucket. Lily gives him rides. When they make a complete circuit of the driveway, Tommy yells "Again!", hoping Lily will take him around one more time.
He wanted to get on the tractor himself, but he refused to set down his action figures. He took a few tumbles (without releasing the toys) and finally let Papa help him on.
Mommy's favorite gifts from the party were a beautiful monogrammed doormat and a book/card Lily made for me about how much she loves me and how she wants to help me when the new baby is born. We didn't get pictures of every page she wrote. It was very sweet. She was so proud to give it to me.
Tommy loved his party and his chocolate cupcakes. He wanted to blow out the candles before we finished singing. I can't believe two years have gone by already and we have another baby on the way. I never imagined I'd be the mother of four children. Our family is so blessed.
Easter morning we dyed a few eggs to decorate our table - then we forgot to put them out for Easter dinner. Lily and Annie helped me make "nests" for some marshmallow Peeps.
We had a beautiful Sunday watching General Conference with Puna and Papa and Brady and Madison. I think the Saturday sessions were my personal favorites, but it just feels so good to have conference playing through the house. I love the feeling in our home on conference weekends.
Our kids love holiday dinners because they get to eat olives. Even Tommy was excited to eat olives this time. Notice how close Woody is to Tommy. Those toys have not left his sight since his party.
The girls asked Papa to bring his ice cream maker again. When it was time to pull it out, Tommy ended up being more interested than his sisters. He was right by Papa's side (in the way), trying to help and trying to watch. He loved putting ice in the barrel and turning the handle. Unfortunately the machine was leaking. Papa had to take it outside and keep adding ice and water to keep the cream covered.
The end result was delicious as always. Tommy and Madison especially loved it.
And of course it wouldn't be a holiday without something breaking in the house. I put too many carrot peels down the garbage disposal and it blocked up. It has been cracked and leaking since we bought the house, but we never replaced it. Papa decided he could do it without too much hassle. Monday morning he installed our new disposal unit. Hooray!
Monday was a big day in our house. All the family went to the doctor with Mommy to watch our ultrasound. Everything looked great and we were thrilled to find out we're having another boy. We can't wait for Tommy to have a buddy. We hope they'll be buddies just like Lily and Annie.
Monday night, we went out for dinner. Lily was enjoying a warm roll with honey butter when all of a sudden her tooth came out - right in the roll. She was on Cloud 9 the rest of the night and well into the next day.
We put her tooth in a little jewelry box and left it under her pillow. The Tooth Fairy came and gave Lily $1 for her first tooth. Lily was so proud to show off her new gap at school. She keeps playing with the hole and trying to see what will fit in it.
After fighting through a tough cold for a couple of weeks, and not having much of an appetite for over a week, Tommy woke up Tuesday with a fever above 102. He was lethargic and didn't want to eat or drink anything. I finally coaxed some juice into him at 10:00 and he immediately threw it up all over himself and me. After a nap and some medicine he started eating popsicles and was able to keep some juice down, but his fever wasn't going away. We took him in to see the doctor. He has tonsillitis. We started him on antibiotics right away. I took him out for a smoothie for being so good at the doctor. He drank the whole thing. It was the most food he had taken in for days! I was so happy he drank it and was able to keep it down. Within 12 hours of starting the antibiotic, Tommy began to improve. He is still waking once or twice during the night, but he is much better.
Puna and Papa left on Wednesday morning to return home. The kids sure miss them. We had a great weekend during their visit.
Wednesday night Jeremy and I escaped to Pocatello to see a Neil Diamond tribute band. We were the youngest people in the room. The poor singer was very good and put on a fun show, but the audience was so old. Everyone just sat quietly in their seats and clapped politely after each song. I imagined the concert atmosphere I'm used to with people dancing in their seats and singing along. I suppose the 70 and over crowd with walkers, oxygen tanks, and canes just weren't up to it. We still enjoyed it, but it would have been more fun with a more enthusiastic audience. Jeremy and I just kept giggling at how reserved everyone was. I think half the auditorium was asleep.
By Thursday morning, Tommy was feeling so much better. He was well enough to trash the house while Annie and I took down and packed up the Easter decorations. I figured if he had enough energy to do that, he was well enough to go to swimming lessons.
Tommy really enjoyed his first lesson. Poor Daddy endured splash after splash after splash. Bubba loves the water. He had a hard time sitting still and listening to his teacher. He just wanted to splash Daddy and jump off the wall over and over again. Thank you for his swimming lessons Grammy and Grampy. He's going to love them for the next four weeks.
Saturday we had another dance festival. Lily is on the far left in the picture above. Her class did a great job. There were some ballroom teams there that Annie enjoyed watching. After dance, we had a girls' date for frozen yogurt. The kids were thrilled to pick their own flavors and have some quiet time with Mom. I sure love these two!
Tommy is feeling much better now. He still had a few days left of his antibiotics, his appetite is not quite back yet and he's still waking in the night, but hopefully he'll be all better by the weekend. We can't wait to come and see Grammy and Grampy!