Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Time!...

The Bunny Came!
And God showed up, too!
It was a happy day at the Leong house.
Come on in....

 The boys came down this morning to Easter baskets filled with toys and books.
Gavin received a cool toy that has a light up show when he presses a bar on the bottom.
And the Easter Bunny knew how much he LOVES the Fisher Price "Laugh and Learn" lady's voice and songs - and gave him a cell phone and a rolling puppy!  He was in Heaven.
Brian was more than happy to help his brother crack open his eggs.  Inside were coins for Gavin's piggy bank!!  The three of us raced up to Gavin's room to put the money in his bank.
Brian was excited with the toys in his basket...a helicopter, a telescope, Spider Man stickers and a sticker book.  But he was even MORE excited with the eggs in his basket that contained a few M&M's and Lifesavers!
Gavin wasn't interested in the scavenger hunt so Brian, being the great big brother he is, collected all the eggs in the playroom for both of them.
Inside each of the 20 eggs was one coin!  Brian was over the Easter Moon.
Yesterday, the boys got Easter gifts from Miss Sara and her parents that were - as usual - amazing and creative.  Brian got a pop up castle which has replaced our fort in the "book nook!"

A few days before Easter, a box arrived from our friend "Miss Barb" who often sends the boys books for their library.  A few of the books that she passed along I actually slipped into the boys Easter Basket stash.  One of which was called "Where Does God Live?" by Holly Bea.  

Once I read through this book alone, I knew it had a special place in Brian's basket.  All morning the three of us read books together - and Brian asked for this book twice.  We often casually talk about God and Heaven and angels together - especially at night.  Each night at bedtime he asks, "Want to lay on my bed for a little bit and look up at my stars, Mommy?"  And we do.  We lay on our backs...hold hands...and look up at the glowing stars on his ceiling. He tells me where everyone lives as he points up to the sky.  "Pop lives in that star... and Darcy is in that star..."

After reading the book one final time, I brought the boys upstairs for a short nap.  As I tucked Brian in he said, "Mama - is God dead like Pop?"  I quizzically replied, "Why do you ask that, Brian?"  He answered, "In the book it said that God lives in Heaven and you go to Heaven when you're dead."

What a perfect day to explain to my son how very alive his God is.  And how he lives everywhere... and in everything... and in everyone.

Happy Easter!!

p.s.... if you entered the Mattel "Save The Bunny" drawing, check this list to see if you're a winner!  I assume they would contact you - they didn't even tell me the winners were announced.  I have no idea who the winners are on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook Page giveaway - I haven't been told yet.  It was a rather anti-climactic ending... oh well.


Entry #10444
Entry #10479Erica C.
Entry #1411Debbie T.
Entry #8964Maureen L.
Entry #4352Krista g.
Entry #372Patti M.
Entry #8911Darwin C.
Entry #11597Jessica S.
Entry #5990Ava P.
Entry #8829Aimée R.
Entry #8622Michelle H.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gavin is Five and a Half Today...

I've been saying it all day.
Gavin is five and a half years old.
That's halfway to six, you know.
That's "Kindergarten is just around the bend," in case you forgot.
My baby...who was so tiny and so fragile and so mysterious.
Who I held almost around the clock some days - gladly and gratefully.
He's now my child who barely stays still.  I'm even more grateful for snuggles because they come so infrequently.  Ironically, that makes me glad, too.
Our little boy with the not so promising future is now promising all of us that if we don't look away, he will show us all of the miracles inside of him.

Gavin is five and a half years old.
I've been saying it all day.
Happy Half Birthday, Bugaboo!

To celebrate, we went to one of his favorite places - Arnold's Family Fun Center!  Daddy took some time off from work to join the fun...
...which made his buddy, Gavin, VERY happy!!!
Miss Sara was there, too, and had just as much fun as the kids!
Sara and I both took turns taking Gavin on the Frog Hopper - one of his favorite rides.
Next door, Daddy and Brian battled it out on the air hockey table.
We hit the Merry Go Round twice...
...and then REALLY conquered the bounce houses and slides!  First, Brian and I climbed up and went down the slide together.
And then - in a miraculous feat - I climbed up the blow up ladder inside the bounce house with Gavin in my arms.  This will likely never happen again - whew!  But we made it!
...and just before take off, Gavin and I heard a little voice from way down below saying, "Wait for me!!"
Soon it was the three of us!
No Mommys were hurt in the making of this photo capture.  
The five of us ended the celebration with lunch (and cupcakes!) at Wegmans.  I'll spare you the fun story of Gavin gagging and throwing up very nonchalantly into a (lucky for me) convenient container right at the table.  Although it was a really fun moment of the day and only witnessed by us, thank the Lord.

We don't like to be dull on half birthdays, as you can see.  

I can't believe he's halfway to six.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A New Way to Make Easter Eggs!...

We had a big event happen today!

No, it wasn't our visit to the Easter Bunny, although that was a big moment.  Last year, Brian was terrified (can't say I blame him) and wanted nothing to do with the bunny.
And, no, the big event wasn't Brian's great coloring job that he brought to bribe the bunny (Can't say I blame him there, either.  I wish I had thought of that years ago.)
The big event?  Mommy created a craft project with the boys.

Me.  I'm the Mommy.  I know...I can hardly believe it myself.

We decided to decorate Easter eggs and I discovered a new way to make the eggs.  In the OVEN!
I saw this circulating on Facebook and had to investigate.  Turns out the idea came from the chef, Alton Brown.   You can find the "recipe" here.

It only took 30 minutes and it was much simpler than watching a pot of boiling water.  But the coolest thing about this?  It didn't smell like eggs were cooking in the kitchen.  It smelled like we were baking a cake!!  How cool is that?
The other new idea I wanted to try was dyeing eggs with shaving cream and food coloring.  We sprayed shaving cream onto a cookie sheet...
...and then dripped all the colors on top.
They suggested using a toothpick to swirl the colors through the shaving cream - and I didn't.  I gave Brian a large chopstick.  
In hindsight, I wish I had used the toothpick.  The shaving cream was a little over-stirred and it kind of looked like one big color blob.  In a test of "nature" vs "nurture" - "nature" won.  I've never let on that I don't care to get dirty or do messy things so as not to influence the kids.  But Brian has always been that way on his own!  He is always asking me to wipe his face or get stuff off of his hands.  This egg craft was entirely too messy for him.  The photo below?  Totally staged to show him "rolling the egg through the cream" - he barely wanted to touch it!!  So, the rest of the egg rolling was left to me.  And I had dyed fingers for the rest of the day.
In other news - I have NO idea if Gavin is really my child or not.  He was completely out of control playing in the shaving cream.  Let's just say clean up involved Q-Tips.
This is what the eggs looked like after being rolled in the shaving cream...
...and ten minutes later, I toweled the shaving cream off to reveal these...
I think they would have been a lot more vibrant and marbled if we hadn't over mixed with the big chopstick.  But that's okay - I'm feeling pretty confident that this was a one time event.  Thank God.

We also did the traditional "Paas" Easter egg dyeing kit.
Poor Gavin had to be restrained when anything was put in front of him.  He literally would just grab any of these cups and throw them.  Not a great idea when there's food coloring involved!
Both boys had a good time, though!
Brian asked me why we make Easter eggs and, to be honest, I wasn't sure where that tradition came from.  Even when I looked it up, it wasn't entirely clear.  So I told him that, just like Daddy, the Easter Bunny likes hard boiled eggs.  We decorate them because he loves to see our artwork.  And then, when the bunny comes to our house, he has something to eat before he leaves gifts in their baskets and hops onto the next house!
My explanation conveniently solves my dilemma of how long I'll have to stare at these eggs.  Now I know the Easter Bunny will devour them before we wake up on Sunday!  Score!!
If any one of you is learning about the egg baking or the shaving cream trick from ME - please tell me so I can have a good laugh.  Talk about an unlikely source!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Giving In...

I had big plans for this week.  With both boys off from school for Spring Break and Miss Sara back from her trip to Jamaica, I had all these great ideas for how to spend our time.  There was going to be crafts and a trip to the Aquarium and a visit to the Easter Bunny and more.  Tomorrow is Thursday and we've not done anything on my list yet.  Why?  Because of me.

I've been sick since early last week.  What I thought was just a cold coming on lasted all through the wedding weekend (making it not very fun to fly!) and continued to get worse.  Last night, as I sat in bed wincing in pain, I knew it was time to give in.  This morning I headed to the doctor and was told I have a double ear AND sinus infections.  At least that explains why I'm miserable.  I do hate going on an antibiotic, but I'm desperate for relief at this point.  What can you do...

Hopefully tomorrow I'll wake up feeling a little bit better!  We have eggs to decorate, a bunny to visit (although last year Brian wanted NOTHING to do with the guy!) and wild horses couldn't keep me from our Friday plans!  Friday is Gavin's 1/2 birthday!!  Can you believe he'll be halfway to SIX?  We'll be taking him to Arnold's Family Fun Center where he loves to go on rides.

This week I have an assignment to videotape Gavin using the communication cards I made for him.  Last week, when it was just me and the boys, Gavin did a great job touching the picture to request his books - and also his milk.  Now, with the pressure of getting it on video for his speech therapist - he won't cooperate.  Figures.

Brian loves to do this communication activity with Gavin and he jumped right in.

He even tried to help take pictures for me.
Although Brian could stand to work on his patience, he sure is a persistent teacher.  

If you need a good laugh or two tonight, check out these videos in order and you'll see Brian's patience wearing thin as he asks Gavin to "touch the picture"...

Take one

Take two

Take three 

 Don't forget to head over to the Chasing Rainbow's Facebook Page and give it a "like!"  You'll get instant updates when I post a new journal entry - and other fun updates, too!  
You can find the page HERE.

Monday, March 25, 2013

You May Kiss The Bride...

He started writing a journal when he knew he wanted to pursue something with Miranda.  Dan got a little spiral notebook and wrote letters to the woman he knew would become his wife one day.
He shared this book with no one.  

Not even her.
He wrote to her the day he would visit her father.  Dan wanted to ask her Dad's permission to date - just date - his daughter.  And he vowed to him - gave him his word - that he would respect her in every way.
He wrote to her the day he knew he wanted to marry her.  And on the day he went shopping for her ring.  He wrote to her the day he once again asked her father for his permission - this marry her.
His last letter in the worn and weathered spiral notebook was on the morning of their wedding.  
Thinking a spiral notebook wouldn't cut it, he thought of rewriting the pages in something... fancier.  But that just wasn't their style.  Dan and Miranda are simple and love unique, handmade things.  I think Dan knew that Miranda would love his little notebook because it held pieces of his heart on every page.
It was delivered to her the morning of the wedding.  Finally, she could read the words in all the letters and get a glimpse into the private thoughts of her groom from the very moment he knew.

He always knew.
And just as he'd promised her Father...and himself so many years ago...he saved his first kiss for his wife.
Their first kiss was remarkable...and the church erupted in applause.
And I've never been prouder as his Aunt.  I feel lucky to even know this man who was once the sweetest, chubby cheeked little boy.
My sister now has a "daughter-in-love" to add to her ever growing family...
And now my Mom has another Grandchild in her ever growing family...
And my Dad?  Well, I think we can all agree...  
Pop had the best seat in the house that day.
 The reception was filled with so many special and unique touches.  The bridesmaids and the bride stored their bouquets, which were tied with burlap, in bell jars.
And all of the wood planters that held the centerpieces were made by Dan!  He crafted about 30 of them from pallets and varnished each one.
And they made many of the decorations themselves - even stringing white lights all over the ceiling.
Even the guest book area was unique.  The guests were asked to place their thumbprints on the tree and write their names.  The glass bottles behind their initials?  They were the bottles that Dan used in the scavenger hunt proposal.  The proposal that finished with her walking down a candle lit path in a park that led her to him... on his knee.
Sorry, girls.  He's taken.
Of course, he gets all of his romantic ideas and wonderful, moral behavior from his Aunt.  Oh, not me - another Aunt on his Father's side.  Let's be honest.

As it turns out, Ed and I clean up rather well! 
And we know how to party... 
...especially Ed who killed it on the dance floor with my niece, Emily's, husband Josh!
The reception was so much fun...and the dance floor was packed all night.  
It truly was a wonderful weekend reminding me how proud I am to be a member of this family.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Vaccaro!
To think that this is just the beginning of Dan and Miranda's love story... 

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