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Sunday, April 24, 2011

sleepovers, easter bunnies and no shortage of candy

Sandi and I had our niece (Michaela- age 8) and nephew (Braeden- age 2) overnight last night.  It was so much fun, a lot of shuffling of bags and seat belts and car doors, an excessive amount of food prep and kitchen clean up, and a wonderful reminder that we live in Maine so that we can be so close to our family (even though, often lately, Maine's politics suck and we've thought not seriously about moving).

We committed to the "tire 'em out" plan of events which started with some intense running up and down and all around our house (I am SO not used to the age anymore where a child dumps the contents of a box or drawer just because it is fun) and a small lag in patience on my part, followed by open swim at the indoor pool and then rollerskating.

You heard me right.

At Christmas and Easter the Bridge Alliance (a local group whose mission it is to bridge the gay community with straight allies through fun events) holds a themed event for kids featuring the appropriate holiday celebrity.  They are always super fun (and free!) and who can say no to rolling around on 4 inch wheels?

Maya and Braeden were initially unsure about the Easter Bunny.

But, our friend Katie makes an adorable Easter Bunny and was hard to resist for long.
It didn't hurt that she had toys AND candy.
I laced up my skates and took the big girls out on the incredibly slippery roller rink floor that I believe to be lined with invisible banana peels.  It was a comedy show in and of itself just watching the girls, arms flailing, feet skidding to and fro, go landing in a wild pile on their bottoms. 

They were both initially frustrated with the massive gap between their ability and those whizzing past them but they showed a good 75% improvement over the course of an hour.  By the end, each could skate with just one sweaty hand in mine, several feet away from the safety of the rail. 

I was sure to let my sister know that I did not, in fact, beat her daughter up, but rather had taken her roller skating.

The best part?  When I was congratulating them on their hard work and improvement my niece said to me, "It is because you helped me so much that I could get better at it." 

And, no, in case you are having nightmarish images of Maya on rollerskates, she and Braeden stayed in sneakers and played with the big bunny.

When you double your money in the kid department, your kitchen becomes a revolving door with customers arriving for more before you've hardly cleaned up from their last visit. 
In case the candy they got from the Easter Bunny at the roller rink AND the eggs from this morning's egg hunt (as well as the Easter baskets and second egg hunt awaiting them at my sister's house this afternoon) wasn't enough...we made Belgium waffles for breakfast. 

Yes, the Carver's were on a sugar binge today.

Every Easter, no matter how we strive to avoid it, there is always some heinous acts committed on confectionery bunnies.

The big kids, down to the business of combing over their loot.
For reasons I cannot completely articulate, I love this picture of Maya.  Something about the placement of the egg in the photo smacks of Maya to me.  Her new expression, one she used on Braeden often when she felt he wasn't speaking at a desirable decibel:  "Talk it louder!"
These two have adored each other since the beginning.  Michaela, always a little older and wiser, has always doted on Ella, showing her the ropes and encouraging her along.  Sandi's mom, Patti, said when we found out Braeden was coming along, "It's a good thing.  Now Maya will have a playmate.  Because we all know Ella was never going to share Michaela."
And, even though she also adores Michaela, Maya's heart belongs to Braeden.
Easter is not a religious holiday in our house.  But by religious I guess I should qualify that and say that no doctrines play a role in our Easter day. For us it is a celebration of spring, of new life, of family, of love, of chocolate and, often, of pretty dresses.  In our house, we could build a whole religion around pretty dresses.

Yet in every way, hearing the gleeful squeal of children in the strengthening April sun as they run in the yard, witnessing their change from last year so that they discover eggs hidden in spots that would have been too difficult just one year ago, having family with whom you can hug and laugh and tease and plan fun future adventures,  having Sandi home for a few hours this morning because one of her co-workers worked 4 hours of her shift out of the goodness of her heart, hearing Michaela ask me 3 times if she was really and truly spending the night just to make sure it was for real since she has had her bag packed by the door waiting for weeks...this is the spirit that moves my life, the current that gives it shape and meaning and texture and color.


Katie said...

It was SO NICE seeing you guys at the skating event! I loved Maya's fondness (obsession) with the Easter Bunny. So freakin' cute!! I'm still not really sure if Ella had any clue it was me?
The older girls did SO WELL out there skating! Alex and I were commenting on how much they improved just in the time they were there.
Looks like your gang had a nice Easter. Always fun & exhausting with a troop of kiddos! How lucky they were to be able to spend the day together, and at YOUR house! Fun, fun!

Angela said...

I can SOOOO picture "talk it louder" in Maya's voice!!

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