Easter 2014

I love that M&M still want to color Easter eggs. I love that they see magic in a dull white egg popping with color after being lifted from a cup. I love that Mario couldn’t wait to get my attention every twenty seconds in order to show me the newest color he produced on his egg. I love that Ri experiments by placing her egg in every color until it forms a dull brown and instead of getting mad, she just tries again and then lays down and places two dull ones on her eyes like some new age hippy.

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I love these moments together simply absorbing the joys of creating a magnificent yellow egg and a glittering purple one. No worries about finishing homework or responding to email – simply appreciating the beauty of bright pastels. I am going to miss these moments when the kids grow up and no longer have any desire to color eggs with their mom. Instead, they will be out with friends and waking up at noon. But alas, I need to stay in the moment so back to Easter weekend.
We woke Saturday morning to head down Grandview hill to the Easter Egg hunt. There were little, sweet babes dressed up in pastels standing in awe of the live Easter Bunny. I remember Ri and Mario at age 3 and 1 pointing at the Bunny and pulling me over to see him. I remember how excited they were to find eggs and cookies (yes, Grandview puts out sleeves of Oreos) scattered around the park. They still have the excitement in finding eggs – not so much in the Bunny. But I still made them take a picture…
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They have their friends there now and they “hang” with them pre-hunt over pictures with mom.
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It’s a different joy I feel at this age seeing them wrestle and giggle with friends. I’m glad they are establishing friendships and experiencing all the emotions that come with them.
They are both loyal and caring to their friends; they even distributed their Oreos to them (that’s the ultimate sign of friendship at this age).
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We spent an hour at the park after the hunt watching the kids play around and talk to friends. When we finally hit the road, it was the usual combination. Ri and Sophie scootered home with me and Mario drove home with Rick and the boys. Sophie and Ri scootered home with Zach who Ri has known since kindergarten. It’s hilarious to see the boy/girl dynamic at play. Little flirting here, little jabbing there. A lot different then kindergarten.
After we had eaten a majority of the Easter candy at the hunt, we decided it would be best to top it off with some Jeni’s ice cream. Mistake.
Jeni’s is so rich – two dips of that combined with Reese’s and chocolate bunnies led to serious stomach aches. We sat on the bench for a while before walking home.

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We burned off some of the chocolate playing ultimate frisbee. Ri is really good at it. She’s always picked up on the adventure, off-the-beaten path sports. Mario is good, too but Ri has the hand flick down pat.
We woke Sunday morning to two kids at the end of the bed urging us to get up.
“Let’s see if the Easter Bunny came!” As I stated earlier, I do love this age but sometimes it’s annoying at 6:45 am…. Jon and I got up and headed down with them. I had hid the eggs in the house since the kids are too old for Jon to be able to hold them at bay while I go down in the morning to hide them outside. This year, I put $5 and a few $1 bills in the eggs because Mario is much more into money than candy. They hunted the eggs down within four minutes and then sat on the couch looking through their baskets.
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Rocco even scored a rawhide from the Bunny.
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You’d think we would have learned from our mistake at Jeni’s but we didn’t. Ri and I made chocolate chip waffles for breakfast to add to our chocolate feast. Then we got our fine Easter clothes on (shorts and t-shirts) and headed to Laura’s house, which used to be Grandma Heile’s house, which used to be where I hunted eggs when I was a girl. However, I never had the chance at a $5 egg like Ri and Mario and Grace and Dakota have now. It’s a big rivalry every year – who will get the $5 egg. Grace held the honors last year so we were ready to take over this year. We didn’t disappoint – Mario got it. And was very excited.
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Ri rocked out an Aunt Laura tank top and wig for the hunt. She’s always up for a twist. And it wouldn’t be a Heile Easter without some volleyball. It used to be softball but a few years back it switched over to volleyball and there are some good players in our family. Of course, Robert and Cy have the height advantage but we all hold our own. Even Ri and Mario like to get in the game. Ri just likes to talk smack but Mario wants the ball to come to him so he can hit it.
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I always leave these Heile parties without a voice and exhausted, and that’s not a bad thing. I love this crew to the moon and back: my aunts and uncles helped raise me and I helped raise all these cousins of mine who are now 20 something’s and full of Heile energy.
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On the drive home, I felt full of joy…and chocolate Easter eggs.

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Easter 2013

Maria was more excited about Easter this year than Christmas. For the last three days before Easter she kept wondering what the Bunny might bring her. I never thought she cared much about the baskets that I create for them each year but I was wrong. As we sat at the table writing letters to the Easter Bunny, she said “I want to say something to her (I love that she treats the Easter Bunny as a girl – my progressive-minded girl) but I don’t want to sound greedy.”

“What are you asking her?”

“I’m asking her to please bring a basket for me and Mario again this year.”

“We’ll, I don’t think that is unreasonable to ask. Just ask it politely.”

So she wrote “P.S. Would you consider bringing a basket to me and Mario?”

I love that girl. She really is a thoughtful little soul. When Mario acted up later in the evening, I told him the Bunny was watching. He could have cared less. So I got more firm with him. Ri started sniffling. I asked what was the matter and she muffled her words “I don’t want my brother to not get a basket.” She watches over that boy.

She left out a cup of milk and cheese for the Bunny. She couldn’t find carrots. Then she went promptly up to her room so the Bunny would come. Mario stayed downstairs. I kept swearing that one day the Bunny would not come because he didn’t go to bed on time. All I can say is he knows he’s got a sucker for a mom and I would never let that happen.

And sure enough, even though he didn’t go upstairs until 10 with Jon, the Easter Bunny somehow managed to fix up two awesome baskets with bug catchers, a Katy Perry CD, Skylanders, clothes, sunglasses, and chocolate bunnies, of course.

The Bunny gave me written instructions to hide the eggs since he couldn’t hide them outside with the rain. The kids tore through the downstairs and the hunt ended in two minutes. They wanted those baskets.

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I had to give $5 in an egg to each of them because we missed the Heile Easter egg hunt where there is always the possibility of finding the $5 egg (Grace was the sole participant this year so she got lucky). They were high on candy within 10 minutes (how fast can Mario down peanut butter cups? Three in a minute).

I still don’t know what to think about Ri and her belief in the Easter Bunny. With as old as she acts, I can’t believe she still believes. But then she gets so excited about Easter and writes a letter to her and leaves out food that I think she must believe. But then again, on Easter morning when Mario pulled out a Skylander and I said stupidly “I thought you’d like that one” she quickly interjected”you mean the Easter Bunny, don’t you, mom?” with a coy smile on her face. She keeps me guessing. Mario doesn’t give it much thought as long as there are gifts and money in his basket.

After finding eggs, we headed to Marion for Easter brunch. Nothing like filling yourself up with bacon, ham, creamy macaroni and hash browns before diving into brownies and chocolate peeps. Why aren’t elastic sweatpants allowed at brunch?

Carrie and Gio had to stay home because Gio was sick but we got Alana for the day. Mario enjoys playing with her as much as Gio. Grandma Ionno had eggs ready to be hunted and the kids got treated to more candy and another $5 egg. I’ve never made $10 bucks that easy.

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The kids visited the mama and papa geese near Patty’s bridge. The papa squawked at us to stay away from his woman and babies and Mario had to tell us the story of him and Grandma getting chased by the papa two weeks ago. Then the kids rapped on the rocks (much to Uncle Patrick’s dismay – I told him we’d sing hard rock next time).

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Mario crashed on the ride home but woke up when we got close to home begging to see Quinn. I told him they weren’t home from their aunt’s house yet and he got so mad. “You promised we could see them, mom!” He is all about keeping promises lately. I explained to him that I said we could see them if they were home. He surprisingly understood and sat quiet. I need to be very careful with my promises from now on because as long as I don’t promise something I know may not happen, he seems ok.

He ended up having a good night with his family. We took a scooter walk and played football. And ate a ton more chocolate Easter bunnies.

Continuing the Madness…

Easter morning

We stuffed ourselves on Saturday.  Absolutely stuffed between the corn casserole, the brownies, the potato salad.  So, what else is there to do but continue the gluttony on Easter Sunday?  The kids woke up in a bit of a stupor from our long day on Saturday but within about eight minutes, the day hit them. 

“Is it Easter?  Did the Easter Bunny come here? Are there eggs downstairs?”

It had rained all night so the back yard was soaked.  Jon kept the kids in bed while I ran downstairs to hide the eggs and put out their baskets.  I had done the baskets Friday night knowing that I would be exhausted Saturday night.  As I was placing the last few eggs on the bookcase and piano, the kids started shuffling downstairs asking if they could begin the hunt.  They found their baskets in the corner of the dining room – Maria screamed when she saw Justin Bieber stickers and Mario jumped around the room when he discovered mini transformers.  Maria moved onto the “hidden” eggs (not so hidden when you are talking about three rooms downstairs with very little furniture) and found all of her eggs within two minutes.  Mario took his time on the eggs front because those new transformers were way too enticing.  

After the hunt came the best part – opening each egg to eat up the contents.  I had packed Maria’s eggs full of skittles, gumballs and NERDS (she enjoys those sweet candies like her Aunt Sarah).  I packed Mario all chocolate – M&M’s, snickers, and reese’s (he is his mother’s child).  Everytime Mario looked away, I snatched another chocolate.   

Jon’s parents and brothers came over at 11 am and we headed to brunch at Bravo’s restaurant.  The kids hung on their  cousin Peter, the entire time.  They were fascinated with him (age 16) just like they are with their Heile boy cousins(age 16 and 17).  Luckily, Peter is about as low-key as the Heile boys so he allowed them to climb on him, lead him through our house, and show him their toys.  When we returned home, Mario begged to play Peter in a game of b-ball on Wii.  While they played, the gals (Maria, Patty, Debbie and me) walked to Giant Eagle to grab a bag of ice.  We talked about Jon’s dad, about moving to Columbus, about kids.  It was nice to break away and have that alone time together.  Maria did a good job walking with us and listening to us talk – she is getting more mature in that arena lately.  She used to butt in every two seconds in the past but now she enjoys listening and adding in her two cents when she sees fit. 

When we got home from the store, Mario had moved the men to the outside to play “live” basketball. He showed us his dunks while Maria came out and showed us her new sandals.  I had taken her there to get me a pair of gym shoes.  When we walked in, however, Maria immediately dragged me over to the high heels section.  She selected about three different heels that were over an inch high and that I have only seen in the movies on prostitutes.  She loved them.  To her despair, I moved directly to the gym shoe area.  I led her to the girls’ shoes and soon she returned with a pair of black heels on her feet.  They almost fit her perfectly, and she begged to purchase them (I am so hoping that this a phase that ends by the time she is 7).  She chose about 4 other shoes before she came out with the turquoise sandals, which we finally agreed upon. 

After chowing down on Patty’s awesome chocolate chip cookies and turtles, we hit the road for the Heile soiree, aka the Madhouse.  Poor Jon is still not used to the ruckus that inevitably occurs when us Heile women get together but he continues to hang in there be the good sport that he is (typically sitting off in the corner with my uncle to talk about hunting).  My darlin’ girl cousins love on Maria and Mario picking them up, squeezing them, kissing them and giving them raspberries all over those round bellies – just like the treatment I received from my aunts when I was little.  Maria relishes in the time that she gets with her second cousins (who we call aunts just because second cousins seems way too distant).  They include her in anything they do which included this holiday sitting on the back of my uncle’s truck listening to music and chatting about boys, clothes, friends, and shoes – right up Maria’s alley.  Mario has made the conscious choice to turn his attention to the boy cousins because they spend their time playing basketball.  He hangs in there with ’em trying to make a shot even if the net is ten times his size.  One day he will show them all up. 

We chowed down on more ham, more potato salad, more deviled eggs, and a new twist – baked beans (a Heile tradition)!  Dairy Queen ice cream cake for dessert, too.  Pure heaven.  We had our traditional easter egg hunt that used to be at least 9 kids strong but that was before all of the cousins grew up and turned into 20 somethings.  Now we only have four kids participating – Maria and Mario, Baby Grace, and Konner.  Everyone wants to get the $5.o0 egg each year, and although all the kids get the same amount of eggs each year, it is still a race to get your number the quickest.  Maria got all nine of hers and Mario only had 8.  Konner had 7 and Grace was finished.  Everyone was helping Konner and Mario find the remaining eggs.  One of the cousins found one and called for Mario to race over.  Konner started heading that way, and Maria tackled him to the ground in order to help her baby brother (the reason she gives at least).  When it comes to eggs, they go to no lengths to help each other.  Baby Grace ended up with the $5.00 egg for a second year in a row much to Maria’s disappointment.  Maria had a major breakdown last year when Grace got the egg; this year we had a talk about how to act if Grace won (be graceful and grateful that she won because she is a baby and needs diapers!) and indeed, she took the $5.00 “loss” like a champ. 

The rain started to grow heavy after the hunt, and the party moved indoors except for Mario and the boys who continued to shoot in the steady downpour.  Mario walked in the house fifteen minutes later sopping wet and completely uncomfortable.  “Mom, take off my shoes and my clothes.  I am all wet and need to be dry.”  He could not stand being wet, and refused to put his shoes back on throughout the night.  He did enjoy running around the living room in only his undies.  Maria again used her tackling skills to get him under control and move him back into the bedroom to get dressed. 

We left the Heile house with cousin Maggie in the car (hitchhiking a ride back to Columbus) and Madagascar on the movie screen.  Maria lasted about 30 minutes before crashing.  Mario and Maggie hung in throughout the trip home.  We unloaded all of the easter treats in the house and I spent 20 minutes picking through easter candies to eat promising myself that the candy remaining on Monday morning would be given away at work.  Of course, I sit here tonight eating a reese cup and a chocolate bunny swearing that I will get rid of the candy tomorrow.  Yeah….