The Poop Egg

My kids, even though they are grown up, still like to carry on certain family traditions. Maybe it’s because they’re becoming adults. Maybe their sense of nostalgia is beginning to kick in already. Regardless, it does my heart good to see them willingly carry forward the family traditions.

In the weeks preceding Easter, Kacey reminded me several times to pick up extra eggs and a dye kit. She wanted to color Easter eggs with her brothers when everyone was home for the holiday weekend. And in spite of our sadness over the loss of our little Bella, we were doing our best to celebrate Easter. And staying busy helped keep our minds off of our heavy hearts.

Kacey and Connor cleared the table on Saturday afternoon. They spread newspaper and got out the coffee mugs, one for each dye color. Connor put a dye tablet in each and then measured the vinegar and water. When he and Kacey sat down to start working on the eggs, I heard her say, “We need to make sure we get some colorful eggs done before Jake starts mixing up the colors with his poop egg!”

I had forgotten about the poop egg and Kacey’s mention of it made me smile. Every year since the kids were little, Jake has made it his mission to use every single dye color on a single egg. At times, this resulted in drastic and beautiful Easter eggs. Other times? Well… that’s how the name poop egg came to be. This year’s egg was not artistic. It was poopy. But the Easter egg bounty wouldn’t have been the same without it.

Poop Egg

The eggs were finished in plenty of time for Easter, not that anyone ate a single one of them. I don’t care. My big kids coloring Easter eggs at the kitchen table is a happy memory from an otherwise difficult weekend.

We had brunch with my extended family on Easter Sunday. It was a typical, loud and frenzied celebration. When it was over, Brad and Heather went back home, stopping by her parents’ place on the way. Kacey and Connor went to his family’s Easter celebration before they went back to school. Mark went back to bed to get some sleep before working the night shift and Jake disappeared. I put my comfy pants and sweatshirt on and Lucy and I settled comfortably in the living room in front of the t.v. for the remainder of the day.

And that’s when the loss of Bella really hit me. I had myself a good cry for a while. Lucy never left my side. I’d like to think she knew I needed her comfort. And maybe she did. But I knew she was just exhausted as well. She was worn out from a weekend of running and playing with Dacotah.

Lucy Tired

As for the Easter eggs, I used them to make potato salad to have with our dinner tonight. I didn’t use the poop egg, though. Somehow that just seemed wrong.

And as for the poop egg-maker, he’s 22 years old today! Happy Birthday, Jake!

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Easter Sunday

Another four-day weekend – gone in the blink of an eye.

The kitchen is finally mostly put back together again. We still have to install the trim boards and crown molding. I waited all day Friday and much of Saturday to get my turn in there.  I had boxes waiting to be unpacked. I got a small start late Friday, but was sidelined by some friends who Mark had invited over to see.  I  got another chance late Saturday afternoon after doing a bunch of cooking with my sister for Easter brunch. I  started unpacking. I hadn’t gotten far when the next door neighbors popped in to have a look. I was patient while they visited and looked around and listened to Mark tell tales of his manly remodeling adventures. Finally, they left and I unleashed on Mark. I told him if he invited any more people over while I was trying to put my kitchen back together, there would be hell to pay. From there on out, he would periodically glance out the front window and announce, “Bill and Tammy are heading this way…” or “Here come Dave and Rita…”

I fell for it a few times and shouted at him, “You have GOT to be KIDDING me! NO MORE VISITORS!”

Then he would laugh, thinking he was SO funny. So he kept at it, but lost interest when I would just shout back at him, “Shut up!”

I went to bed Saturday night, exhausted but with my kitchen back in order. Sunday morning I was anxious to give my new oven a try. I preheated the oven for the brunch egg dish I had prepared. I timed it just right to make sure the food was done just in time to bring it over to my parents house for the family celebration. After allowing plenty of time for preheating, I opened the oven…and found it was not anywhere near 350 degrees. Not even close. My brand new oven DID NOT WORK! ARGH!

Thankfully, Mom and Dad live a block away, so I called over to their house and my mom answered the phone cheerfully. Unable to hide the pout in my voice, I said, “Mom? My oven doesn’t work!”

“Well bring it on over,” she said. “We’ll just cook it in my oven.”

Easter was saved.

We had a great time with the whole family and stuffed ourselves silly. The food was delicious and plentiful. My mom made sure the orange juice was pulp-free, because she knows how much I hate pulp in my orange juice. My brother and I were actually already planning Thanksgiving dinner.

Later on, we went over to Mark’s parents’ house where we had a great time with his family! I got my baby-fix kissing and chasing and hugging our one year-old nephew Ryan. We threw plastic eggs at each other all afternoon long and then I helped him find more plastic eggs in the egg hunt.

Family isn’t always fun, but today was good.

Life is Good – April 2, 2010

I have no photo to offer today. Things have been so chaotic around here that I haven’t even had a chance to take pictures lately. It’s a shame too, because the weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday here in Minnesota. Our temperatures were in the high seventies and I even donned my flip-flops for the first time this year!

So things are still crazy in la casa de Terri, due mainly to the kitchen remodel project which is threatening to send me over the edge. I have to constantly remind myself that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. (Though Kacey recently informed me that due to the struggling economy, and in an attempt to conserve energy, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off until further notice.)

The past few days have been the worst days of the remodeling adventure. There had been a temporary restoration of order in the kitchen, but then came the installation of the new counter tops. In addition, Mark started ripping out the old hardwood floor. The table, chairs and any other kitchen items that I find necessary and convenient were shuffled all over the house. Early Wednesday morning, as I was attempting to get out the door for work, I found myself searching high and low for my insulated lunch bag and my vitamins. Thursday morning, Mark began installing the new hardwood floor bright and early. Our friend, Paul came to help out. The place was a mess. The sound of an air-nailer and pounding hammers continued throughout the day. I felt in the way and aimless, so I got out of the house and ran some errands.

When I returned, they were still working fast and furious and I still felt useless, so off I went again. I found myself at Barnes and Nobel, which always has a therapeutic effect on me. I recently (finally) finished reading Pillars of the Earth and LOVED it! This is probably the best book I have ever read. So there was no question what book I was seeking in my trip to the bookstore. The sequel, World Without End was sitting on the shelf, calling my name, just waiting for me to come pick it up. Who was I to argue?

The guys worked well into the late evening on the floor installation. In spite of the noise they were making, I decided to go to bed and was actually able to go to sleep, for a few hours anyway. Midnight rolled around and suddenly I was wide awake. I decided to tiptoe into the kitchen to see how much they’d accomplished and much to my surprise, they’d completed about three-fourths of the floor! The new refrigerator and stove, which had previously been sitting in the living room were now in their proper places. A sense of order is slowly but surely returning. Maybe today, I’ll actually be able to unpack all of the kitchen belongings and place them in their new homes!

This weekend promises to be a full one. Not only is it Easter weekend, but today is Jake’s 19th birthday! He’s been desperately wanting an iPod touch, so one of my escapes yesterday was a trip to Target to pick it up for him. He’s been nearly crawling out of his skin in anticipation, so I didn’t make him wait for his gift. I gave it to him and let him start enjoying it right away. And I was rewarded with one of his rare but heartfelt hugs and a sincere thank you.

This week also saw the return of my parents from their winter home in Arizona. It is so good to have them back. They arrived late Wednesday afternoon and I walked over to their house as soon as I felt they’d had enough time to get their bags inside and get somewhat settled. I spent a wonderful evening sitting around the kitchen table with Mom, Dad and my sister. We talked and reminisced about friends and neighbors from “the old days” when my siblings and I were growing up and it was such fun.  Mom and Dad had an uneventful winter, which is always good news. No health scares, to speak of and they returned home to very warm and welcoming temperatures. The whole family will be gathering at Mom and Dad’s on Sunday for brunch to celebrate Easter and their return home.

Life is Good!

Busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest

I feel so overwhelmed. I’m falling behind on everything!

Work is chaos, though that’s not really a complaint. I’ve been begging for this for the past two painfully slow years and I finally got my wish. But I hate when I make minor mistakes because I’ve got too many irons in the fire and I don’t know how to say no or ask for help.

The kitchen is still in chaos. But it’s coming together, slowly but surely.

Kacey is on spring break this week and filling up every spare moment with activity. Last night she hung out with a friend, first at the mall, then back home to play Wii and watch a movie. Tonight she’s going bowling with a bunch of kids. Tomorrow there’s a bonfire party at a friend’s house. I took Friday off, thinking I might spend some time with her. At the rate things are going, that probably won’t happen. That’s okay. Maybe I’ll be able to put my kitchen back in order.

I have to make some sort of Bingo card for fun night with my women’s bowling league. Only instead of BINGO, it will be called BOWLO. Get it? BOWLO? Heh. I know. Lame.

My parents come home from Arizona tomorrow. Jake turns 19 on Friday, and I’m pretty sure there’s a major holiday happening this weekend for which I’m supposed to cook the main dish for the family brunch.

Just a few things happening here…

Easter and Church

I have been in a bit of a slump about going to church lately. I’ve found a church I really like but my family is not exactly comfortable with this church. It’s a non-denominational church and a BIG change from the familiar Catholic traditions they are used to. So I tend to go alone when I go there.

This morning, Easter morning, I really wanted to go to church. And I really wanted my family to be with me. So I woke them up and invited all of them to join me at the Catholic church we have attended for years.

I am sure someone reading this is thinking, “You can’t just come and go as you please.” But I used to be one of those people who attended faithfully, every week and every holy day, for most of my life. And I get that perspective. But I have been working through some faith issues… or maybe it’s worship issues…for a while now. The ultimate goal is to have a better relationship with God and I think He understands.

My family all graciously agreed to join me at church today. It was a compromise for all of us. The kids would have preferred to sleep in. My husband had actually suggested we skip it all together when I mentioned it a couple days ago. I was tempted to go to the “new” church where I always feel infinitely more fulfilled after each service than ever before in my life. But because I wanted my family with me, I suggested we go to the “old” church and everyone felt just a little more comfortable with the whole thing.

I should have realized that the church would be packed and we should have left earlier than we normally would. When we arrived, there weren’t many open seats left. I saw a space big enough for the five of us on the far side of the church and led the way, only to find that the three-person family in the large pew had spread all of their jackets and diaper bags across the open space, presumably saving it for someone else. They made no indication that they were willing to share the space. We stopped in our tracks and looked around.

An usher noticed us looking for a place to sit and motioned for us to follow him. He found a pew where five people were sitting on the far right side and a few others on the far left side and a large open space in the middle. The usher stood next to the family on the right and asked if they might move in and make space. They refused to make eye contact and none of them moved, but the man on the end grudgingly stood up and offered to let us crawl over the others. The usher, sensing the tension, noticed an open pew right up front and led us there instead.

Needless to say, this was not the best start to my day. Mark noticed the tension in my face and once we were seated, whispered, “Don’t let this ruin your whole day.”

He knows me well. I was all set to let this ruin my whole day. I was embarrassed and felt like we had become a spectacle. I was ready to declare this my LAST visit to this church and let the seating issues be my proof that this was not the church for me. But for once, I calmed down quickly and realized my husband might actually be right. It is Easter Sunday and I had my entire family with me at church. There were people who arrived later than us and went through a similar routine in finding a place to sit. The people who refused to share their pews were not a reflection of the church as a whole, and not a reflection of God’s presence in our lives.  They were just some people who appeared selfish to me at first glance, but I also realized that I really had no idea what motivated their actions. The bottom line is that we did get a place to sit. We ended up surrounded by good friends, some whom we haven’t seen in years and we got to participate in a joyful and fulfilling service.

It is a happy Easter.

More Easter pics

My nephew, Matthew playing with “Flarp.” Doesn’t the Easter Bunny bring fart-noise making toys to all children? After discovering what fun it was, Matthew said to his mom, “Mom, the Easter Bunny sure knows us, doesn’t he?” 

My youngest brother, Craig, proudly showing off his Anti-Monkey Butt powder. He claims he puts this in his boots to absorb perspiration. Uh-huh. Sure!

Kacey, bracing herself for a kiss from Uncle Jim.

You all had Nerf gun wars at your Easter celebrations too, right? Right? Anyone?

The war is on!

Can you tell how much Hannah is enjoying having her mom brush her hair?

The kids’ personalized Easter eggs from their aunt. Brad claims that “the ‘d’ fell off” of his egg.

Good times!

Happy Easter!

Even at 14, 16 and 19 years old, the kids are still happy to find their baskets filled with candy on Easter. They did, however, request that the Easter Bunny not hide the baskets this year. The Easter Bunny was happy with that request as he feels he has exhausted all possible hiding places over the years. 

Brad was anxiously awaiting the Easter brunch, but not so thrilled about having his picture taken before he had been in the shower.

Kacey was also a little on the lazy side today, and showed up at the table prior to hitting the shower. (In spite what the Elmo pajama pants and an old basketball t-shirt might indicate, we CAN afford pajamas. There’s just no arguing the value of matching pajamas against her idea of comfort.)

The kids humored me by dying the eggs yesterday. Jake was adamant that no one eat the eggs he had colored to his liking. Can you guess which of these are his?

After brunch, the kids headed straight for dessert…

Kacey didn’t mind sharing one or two treats with her mom!

It’s been a quiet day so far. Normally we’d celebrate by having brunch with my entire extended family, but things are a little different this year. My parents aren’t due to return from Arizona for two weeks yet. Since my sister will be flying from her home in Illinois to Arizona to help my parents manage the drive back home, she and her family weren’t here to celebrate with us this year either. Mark is working all day again. This is the third big holiday in a row where he’s had to work. For the last few days, I’ve been feeling sad that we weren’t going to be able to celebrate with our normal traditions. But the kids and I decided to have a scaled down version of the traditional brunch menu and celebrate amongst ourselves. We’re going to spend the afternoon visiting with the in-laws, and then we’re going to come home and finish preparing a ham dinner so that Mark can celebrate with his family when he returns from work.

I hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful and happy Easter weekend!