This year, Andi and I did something we'd never done before -- we spent Easter at our lake cabin. I'm feeling fairly on top of things regarding the move, but a few weeks ago when deciding plans I wasn't so sure that'd be the case. Traveling back to Nebraska the weekend before our move didn't seem like the best idea. By chance, Andi's mom decided to vacation in Palm Springs this past week and his dad and sister had other plans for Easter, so our little family of four celebrated Easter on our own.
On the way to the lake Friday afternoon, Andi, the kids and I stopped by the dealership in Clear Lake, WI to pick up our new pontoon boat. The ice is almost out on the lakes by our cabin (one of the earliest years Andi can remember!), and it has us excited for spring. We spent some time Friday night checking out our new boat digs. Kid approved: "This is so cool!" Tory said.
Ice-out in the bay by our cabin, but still frozen on the main part of Pipe Lake. It won't be long now!
Later, the four of us jumped in the Ranger for an evening ride around the countryside. We met one of the neighbors on the cabin road and while we chatted with her, Tory and Aden ran out their wiggles in an open field nearby. Last weekend there was still snow on the ground at the cabin, but on Friday it was gone. It's definitely a warm(er) weather year.
I had a tire appointment in Cumberland Saturday morning, so we got up early to head to town for breakfast. The kids were super well-behaved and together we enjoyed a nice meal at Our Place Cafe. Unicorn parenting moments like this are a glimmer of hope for the future when taking Tory and Aden out in public won't be so much work. It's either that, or Andi and I have equally perfected our eat-and-run skills // lowered our expectations over the years.
I made the kids fun 'snacky' lunches that afternoon in plastic Easter eggs. I had a serious case of mom-guilty all week for not doing enough to celebrate Easter with the kids, but there's nothing simpler than pulling together a quick and festive meal. The WOW factor for this idea was huge. I added cheese, crackers, lunch meat, mini M+Ms, strawberries, broccoli and noodles in plastic eggs -- nothing special, it was all about the presentation!
We dyed Easter eggs Saturday afternoon following Aden's nap. Tory could've easily colored eggs all afternoon, but one dozen was the perfect amount for Aden's attention span. He only squeezed two of the hard-boiled eggs, so I call that a toddler win!
Our whole family knows I'm not a fan of traditional Easter ham, so the great part about hosting our own celebration this year was being completely in control of the weekend menu. I've been craving pineapple chicken kabobs since our recent vacation in Nicaragua, so Andi and I made those for dinner on Saturday night. They tasted just like summertime. Delicious!
Andi and I decided to keep our plans flexible for Easter Sunday. If the kids woke up early, we'd attend 8:00am church in Cumberland and if they slept in, we'd have a slow morning at the lake cabin and go to 10:30am church service instead. The beauty of not conforming to anyone else's schedule!
Andi and I were awake before the kids around 6:30am, so we enjoyed coffee and a quiet breakfast by ourselves. He made us loaded veggie omelets with maple sausage links.
I used to be so disappointed when the kids woke up on a holiday morning and didn't jump for glee over the Christmas or Easter goodies on display for them. Over the years though, I've learned Tory and Aden need time to wake up in the morning before the excitement sets in. Tory woke up around 7:00am on Easter Sunday and, as expected, was unphased by the Easter basket waiting for her on the table. "Can I have a show and a yogurt?" she asked, just like it was any other day. So, Tory watched a cartoon in our bedroom until Aden got up around 8:00am. Shortly thereafter, the two of them realized the Easter Bunny had visited and got excited about the treats left in their baskets.
The Easter Bunny left water shoes, flip flops, personalized placemats, binoculars, water squirters, bubble guns, diving ring and bug nets. Tory got a hammock to use at the lake this summer, and Aden received a John Deere tractor to play with in the sand.
After the kids ate breakfast, we got dressed and drove into town for Easter church service. Taking small children to church is always tough; it's hard for the adults to get much out of the service while constantly dealing snacks, wrangling wiggling toddlers and taking kids in and out of the sanctuary. Tory sat quietly and listened most of the service, which was great. Ahem, Aden was another story.
At one point, the pastor called the children up to the front for a children's sermon and Aden and Tory happily participated. The pastor used three plastic Easter eggs as symbols during his Easter lesson, each containing a cross, nails and a rock. When Aden spied the rock, he shouted "A rock! A rock!"at the top of his lungs. What can I say? The boy does love rocks.
At the end of the children's sermon, the pastor told the kids he had Easter eggs with treats inside for each of them. He encouraged them to fold their hands and pray, then he'd hand the basket around for each of them to choose an egg. When Aden heard the simple mention of the word "treat," he started climbing over all the children who stood between him and the basket. Before I could grab him, he'd reached the front of the alter and had helped himself to the pile of eggs. I heard the congregation giggle a bit, but there wasn't much I could do to reach him without creating a bigger scene myself. Then while all the other children had their heads bowed in prayer, Aden picked up the rock Pastor had used in his sermon and chucked it clear across the alter. PING! Luckily, he didn't throw it hard enough to break anything! "Amen," said the children at the closing of the prayer, at which point I bee-lined it to the front and grabbed Aden. He proceeded to scream and fight Andi and I for much of the remainder of the service, so we each took turns taking him outside the service until it was over. Normally that scenario would stress me out to the max, but I'm slowly learning to let it go. It was Easter; my family and I went to church to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. Was it a perfect outing? No, but I still glad we went to worship together.
After church, Andi, Tory, Aden and I came back to the cabin and made a traditional Easter ham ... uh, just kidding! We enjoyed poke bowls with pineapple and rice because nothing says Easter like Hawaiian food, right?! I first had a poke bowl at my cousin Jen's house last month and I've been craving it ever since. It's a mixture of ahi tuna, avocado, scallions, sesame seeds and we added pineapple, too. Delish! The kids ate theirs with grilled chicken.
One Easter tradition we absolutely honored was hunting Easter eggs. After lunch, Andi hid plastic eggs along the nature trail, then the four of us spent the next hour or so walking in the woods collecting eggs. It was wonderful to see the kids so happy! Not only were they having fun, but Andi and I were too. Tory proclaimed herself the best "egg hider" and she might've been right -- she took great care in hiding the eggs in secretive places, but was quick to give us all thoughtful clues about where to find them. Aden was an eagle-eye in finding the eggs. He was on a mission and had his basket filled to the brim in no time.
What a lovely weekend. I'm feeling blessed for this little family of mine, and for the gift we were given by our Lord. Happy Easter!