Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Easter Time, Easter Time

Dying Easter eggs is probably my very least favorite tradition of all the traditions.  

It's messy and complicated and requires much more skill than you'd think, or at least much more than the average child carries around. At first, the child is much too young to even realize what is going on and is much more interested in eating the crayons, or drinking the dye, or hearing the satisfying splat when a hard boiled egg hits the floor. Then they grow a bit and want to participate, but their little, fat hands certainly can't balance an egg on the end of a small, flimsy, wiry, egg holder, and they don't have the patience to slowly submerge their egg in the dye, so instead they plop it into the dye sending splashes of color across the table.

Soon, they begin to want multi-toned eggs, but their motor skills are not refined enough to hold an egg completely still to create the even lines they crave, so tears are shed and you are left to convince them that the overlap is actually better than a perfect line because, just look at that beautiful new color in the middle!

And then, finally, finally, they are able to largely navigate themselves - feeling proud and artistic and only lashing out occasionally to a sibling who has taken too much time in the color of choice.

There never seem to be quite enough eggs to keep everyone satisfied. Boiling a dozen eggs only gives each child three (if the adults take none) which, I suppose means we could just boil more, but I cringe a little at the thought of boiling more eggs than we can eat.

But we still come back to it year after year because, somehow, in the minds of the children all of that frustration and fighting and crying morphs into a memory of fun. 

Easter morning, however, is much better and watching my kids hunt for Easter eggs sits much more solidly in the 'Traditions I Like' category.

Here are my 5 coming down the stairs that Easter morning. Little Eliza is tucked up in Kenzie's arms and I didn't think it would be safe for Kenzie to hold her up and closer to the banister because... what if. So you can't see her precious little face very well. But she's there!

And here they are halfway down the stairs looking elated that I wanted another picture of them all together before they dashed off in search of candy.

The Easter bunny was clever this year and hid many of the eggs outside. Which was delightful because being outside on a beautiful spring morning is one of my favorite things. These roses are also some of my favorite things because I pruned these suckers like crazy in early February, so they feel a little like a present to me.

The hunt was successful and each kid came away with a basket full of eggs.

It took McKenzie most of the morning and a large chunk of Dad's help to find all of her eggs. The Easter Bunny hid them so well I bet he wouldn't have even remembered where he put them if he were asked.

Daddy was a great counter and helped Teek make sure he had found all of his colors.

Then it was time to get ready for church. The whole family got dressed and ready (except for me because, baby) and looked so beautiful that the camera came out again to try to capture them in all their sweetness.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

First Bath

Like I always say, nothing causes a family to gather like a baby's first bath.

I never say that.

But it happened to be true of Eliza's first bath.  The children came running in from all corners of the yard and house when they heard that it was time to give Eliza her first bath.  Timothy chattered excitedly about water and towels and soap, and took testing the water temperature very seriously, and Miles bounced around flashing his excited eyes, which are some of my very, very favorite.

Eliza didn't mind the bath too terribly...

But it's hard to know whether or not she would have actually enjoyed it had it not been for all of the small, unpracticed hands dripping water all over her face help that she had.

The children were as gentle as could be, and every single one of them took turns rinsing and soothing and stroking her hair. Some serious love was floating all over in that little bathroom.

And after all was said and done we got to introduce the kids to the joy of snuggling a freshly washed baby.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The First Week

I'm not sure there is anything quite so sweet as the first week at home with a newborn. The sleep deprivation is real, but somehow that seemed to be swallowed up for me in that first week and I found myself staring at her beautiful face through the smallest hours of the morning, in no hurry to place her back into her crib even though she and the rest of the world slept.

Even after the first week and into the first month, I would wake with her small cries and feel no frustration, only excitement that I could pick her up and feed her and snuggle her again. Perspective had a lot to do with it, I think.  I know how fast they grow.  In fact, one day as I was cradling Eliza's perfect little face in my hands, thinking about baby McKenzie and marveling at how much Eliza looks like her, I happened to see the Now McKenzie out of the corner of my eye with her long legs sprawled all over the couch and her hair beautiful and billowy around her teenage face, and my brain screamed. How in the world?! Wasn't I just holding McKenzie just like this

I was.

And now I'm not. And before I know it I'll catch a glimpse of Eliza sprawled out in the same way and I'll wonder how in the world. Somehow, that perspective makes those midnight feedings feel beautiful and precious.

It helps that she's such a good sleeper, too. She wakes up hungry, of course, but then falls right back asleep, content and happy to give me another good chunk of time before she needs me again. 

Sometimes she keeps her eyes open for a while, and those are some perfect moments, too. Especially when she can't quite align them.

It really must be so weird to be a newborn.

Her eyes are so bright and beautiful - we love it when we can stare into them. And that cute little stand up hair in the back! Precious.

We all love to cuddle her, and it makes my heart so happy to see her snuggled by her adoring siblings.

She has us all smitten - and we all would stand and move the world for her just to see her smile.