"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Friday, April 22, 2011


At this point in our trip planning I find I'm counting down the time we have left to go not by how many days there are until we leave but by how many "things" I have left that have to be done before leaving. 

Amy's Gotta-Get-Done-Before-Ireland List: 

Take 18-month pictures of Amara 
  • Easter Feast 
  • Take 8-month pictures of Christian 
  • Take 6-month pictures of the Twinsies
  • Finish the first third of my writing project (I hope, I hope, I hope)
  • Teach first week of education Sunday school class (what was I thinking!)
  • Do last minute trip preparations like confirming accommodations
Once I've checked off this list, we'll be moments away from taking off for New York and I'll be free to spend every minute remaining doing fun stuff like packing and watching P.S. I Love You, again.

Next item to check off my list?...Easter Feast!

I've always felt that Easter should be at least as big a deal as Christmas. After all, the importance of Christ's birth is found with the culmination of His resurrection. I did a few things over the years with our kids to try and make Easter a big deal, but they were all a little too old for such an overhaul of expectations and institution of new traditions. 

Enter our babies! 

What I didn't accomplish with my own children, I hope to do better at with our grand-babies. Last year I started thinking through what I could do to make Easter Sunday Feast at Grammy and Grandfather's a highly anticipated delight for the grandkids - something they long for and love to do the way children await the joys of Christmas morning. 

Or at least as close to that as I can make it. 

So, even though we leave just 2 weeks after Easter, I am working hard to make this year the beginning of what I hope will be lifelong Easter traditions with the grandchildren. 

First of all, this week at Family Dinner Night the babies got their pre-Easter baskets.
Pre-Easter baskest?! A little much you say? 

Well, when I was little I remember feeling so special and beautiful on Easter morning because my Grandmother gave me gloves to wear with my new Easter dress. I had and have such wonderful Grandmothers that pretty much everything they did for me I want to do for our babies. So, every year I want each granddaughter to get gloves and maybe a hat or purse from Grammy to wear Easter morning. Obviously, these have to be given before Easter morning. 

Thus, pre-Easter baskets are pretty much an absolute necessity! :) 

I couldn't find gloves tiny enough for Amara this year, so I went with an Easter purse since there is nothing that girl loves more than a purse! I found a little "Babies 1st Easter" bib for Christian because you can't leave out the boys! I'll have to think of something to give boys every year - a tie maybe?

Next, I'm stealing an idea I got from my sister-in-law, Rose, that her mother does for the grandkids - themed Easter baskets. Every year I'm going to assemble big ole' Easter baskets, packed full of gifts that have some kind of Easter theme. Let's face it, the reason kids love Christmas is the presents - if I want my babies to love Easter, they've got to have presents! :) This year's theme is, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."
I figure this is something that they can look forward to from Grammy and Grandfather every year, even if they can't make it to the feast.

An Easter Feast, of course, means food. What is a holiday with the Hayes without food? This is me we're talking about. I plan to go whole hog with the actual feasting. No fasting on Sundays! I'll pull out Grandma's china, actually buy flowers for the table, make foods everyone loves, and spend hours on fancy cakes and homemade ice cream. What can I say? My version of "I love you" is cooking your favorite treats.

I had a hard time coming up with ideas for what would make a lovely Easter feast. I wanted something that wasn't just the same big dinner we have at every holiday. I combed the internet and emailed my go-to friend, Lorna, and this is what I came up with - 
Fresh Fruit Skewers & Bruschetta for appetizers 
Nancy Hoover's Ham
Roast Beef
Fresh Green Beans
Broccoli Salad
Scalloped Potatoes
Nancy Hoover Mashed Potatoes
Crescent Rolls
Resurrection Rolls
Wine, Fresh Lemonade & Rum Punch to drink
Carrot Cake, Strawberry Cake and Homemade Ice Cream for dessert

Thank goodness my sister Jessica will be here to help me cook!

Finally, most kids who dread going to the relatives' for holidays do so because they have to sit still and behave for hours with nothing to do. Definitely not the effect I'm going for. Eventually, I hope to have all kinds of fun things for the kids to look forward to over the years - I just haven't figured out what that means yet. I'm not a big fan of Easter egg hunts because so many of them I've witnessed end in tantrums or tears or both. For now I'm starting with Easter themed pinatas because that's what Hayes do for childhood celebrations. 
I tell you what - making a pint-sized, extra fragile, Christ's tomb pinata for a couple of babies to beat-on is WAY harder than the traditional, unbreakable, big enough for 30 kids affair I'm used to producing. I mean, I made pinatas that looked like syringes for Adam's leukemia-free party! You'd think a tiny little tomb would be a piece of cake. 

Not so much. 

It turns out industrial strength is easy - you just start early and keep on adding layers. Making something a baby can break is way harder because it's too thin to hold it's shape very well. It's no beauty, but it's done. Amara and Christian will at least look back and say they had a Grammy Easter pinata every year of their lives. 

Yes, I like traditions. 

It kinda goes along with my making lists, liking a schedule, daily itineraries and all that other uptight yet productive stuff. I'm sure not all the kids will make it to our house every year for Easter. But if I'm successful, whenever they do come the grandkids will relish the thought of Easter Feast at Grammy & Grandfather's!

Easter Feast....a few more crazy days and CHECK! I'll be one step closer to Ireland!


  1. Oh my! Can I be one of your grandkids? {ignore the fact that I'm older then you!!} :)

    Also, Aaron & I would like to come for dinner on Sunday night! That menu looks absolutely divine and is making me hungry!!

    I am so excited for you guys and your trip!! It's almost here!!! :)

  2. :) Well, you COULD come for breakfast, if you didn't insist on living a million miles away!

    Can't wait to be about 3,000 miles closer to you in a couple of weeks! ;)

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas and inspiration Amy!

    I wish I had read this before as I was thinking about how I could make Easter meaningful for our little one this year. I did find an activity called "The story of Easter Cookies" while looking for gluten free recipes and that was fun, but I also like the idea of themed Easter baskets (coming from a communist country with no religion freedoms, I did not grow up celebrating Christmas or Easter myself so I find it very interesting to learn what other people do :)).

    I do share the frustration and joy in having home-made pinata-s, I will have to re-think my "one pinata a year is enough!" statement :).

    Enjoy your planing and have a wonderful trip!

  4. Sonila,
    I was searching quite awhile this year to come up with good traditions to start with the little ones. I like the Easter cookie idea, but seems like a better thing to do with your own kids, since the grandbabies don't sleep over. :) I'm glad you liked my plans. I've had you in my thoughts and prayers this week. I'm pleased to hear you found ways to rejoice in this season in spite of your recent suffering. He makes all things new!