Easter 2016 in Cincinnati!

We’ve been back a full week now, but I finally just got to sit down and edit my photos!  The boys and I spent Easter Weekend and a few days afterward in my hometown – Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was a super last minute trip – booked just two days before we left.

I had been feeling really homesick for a while.  I had originally planned to go to Cincinnati for spring break week, but then that fell through, and I realized how much I had been looking forward to it.  I don’t have any plans to see my family until July/August (and hadn’t seen them since the holidays), which felt way too far away.

And then Huey died, and I just became engulfed in sadness.  I cried all the time.  It rained ALL the time.  And I just felt so sad and far away from all the people I so desperately wanted to hug.  And on a gloomy day just before Easter – with nothing but rain the 10 day forecast – I found myself browsing for plane tickets.

I assumed they would be astronomically expensive, but it couldn’t hurt to look. So imagine my surprise when – tucked in there with the other super pricey tickets – was one little flight that was dirt cheap.  Sure, it was totally indirect and would mean a day of hellish travel, but it felt worth the challenge of getting there. 

And even more exciting – since Casey traveled SO much the past few years for his previous job – he was able to cash in some reward coupons and our entire last minute adventure cost a whopping $33!  Meant to be!

I had never flown with the kids alone, and this first solo travel adventure had us flying the 5.5 hours from Seattle to JFK (completely overshooting Ohio), and then jumping on a second 2.5 hour flight to Ohio.  What’s the worst that can happen, right?    

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It was unbelievably smooth.  The kids were complete angels and we had zero meltdowns.  I watched two movies on the first flight and the kids snacked and watched shows and loved the great adventure.  The JFK connection was a little dicey, but I was in survival mode.  I refused to lose patience or get grumpy – we had a long way still to go.  The second flight flew by, and before I knew it we were in Ohio and running down the terminal toward my mom and sister, Sarah.  We were home!

It was exactly what I needed, and it felt so good to be there.  The kids passed out after a very long day of travel, and I settled in for a nice family visit. 

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The next morning was Easter, and my mom really wanted us to go to church with her.  I told her that we’d have to wait and see what time the kids woke up, since they’d had such a long sleepless day before, and we were dealing with a 3 hour time difference.  We would need to leave for church by 8:30am, which was only FIVE thirty Seattle-time, so I told her it was unlikely.

Well the joke was on me, because no matter the time zone, my little blonde ball of love was up at 6am – meaning that I was stumbling around in a 3am fog and dressing my family for church.  Thank goodness for Grandma!

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The Easter bunny got the memo and made it all the way to Ohio with goodies!

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I don’t go big for Easter – I feel like my kids have plenty.  They each got a new pair of Native shoes for summer (which were the only shoes they wore all year last year!), and a Thomas the Train engine.  Cullen also got some oil pastels that he’s been begging for so he can use them with his YouTube art videos

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Graham got the same thing, but he got stamps instead of oil pastels.  I can barely even trust him with crayons!

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We DID make it to church, and it was so nice to see many familiar faces and wonderful friends I’ve known my whole life.  I was on such a high from being with family that I didn’t really even notice that it was only 5am in Seattle.  Yawn. 

As soon as we got back, it was time to hunt for Easter eggs!  Even after a full day of cross-country travel, I sat on the living room floor and helped stuff Easter eggs with goodies to get ready for the next day.  The kids were beyond excited.

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I did the same thing this year that I did last year – assigned them each colors of eggs in order to avoid an all out brawl or any racing or competition.  It was MUCH smoother that way, and they loved spotting their colors peeking out of the grass.

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My mom’s new house has this amazing, gigantic front yard, and it was the perfect spot to spread out and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine (and reports from Seattle were all wind and rain!). 

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Kids make holidays so much more fun, and there is nothing I love more than watching these two smile and enjoy being with family as much as I do.

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So grateful to my mom and Jim for letting us show up on their doorstep with barely a day’s notice.  I know Easter was a lot more special for them too with lots of little people running around!

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No smiles left for mom – sigh.

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My sister Sarah totally changed her weekend plans in order to come to Cincinnati too, and she and her boyfriend even took Monday off to hang out with us an extra day.  They are coming out to Seattle to visit us in July, and I am counting down!

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The kids took naps while the rest of us hung out and relaxed in the sunshine.  It was 75 and blue skies in Ohio, and I couldn’t believe how good it felt to finally feel warm fresh air.  The kids woke up and we spent the rest of the day playing outside.

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The rest of our visit was spent visiting with friends, hitting up the fun kid spots in Cincinnati.  Jim and I took the kids to this amazing play place that was nothing but TRAINS on Tuesday morning.

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And on Wednesday we headed to the zoo with everyone else in the city – spring break chaos!

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Every night the kids collapsed into bed – tired from full days of family and fun.  Seeing them like this really makes me want to move them into bunk beds at home!

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And I spent my evenings watching NCAA basketball, eating endless bowls of Graeter’s Ice Cream, and having my feet rubbed by mama.  Home sweet home, indeed!

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We enjoyed a few more days of sunshine and fun, and then it was time for us to head back home.  It felt really healing to be there.  I hope that someday, I can be as much of a source of strength to my boys as my mom has always been to me.

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We are back in Seattle now, and our home feels so different without Huey dog.  But I am glad I got some time away to process and be with some of the people who knew Huey best – who understood his crazy quirks, and who loved him like we do.  And now we are home loving on Indy and showering him with as much love as we possibly can, because life is short and dogs are special.

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We also came home to 70 degree temps and perfect Northwest sunshine, so life feels a bit better every day.  Thanks for all your wonderful support these past fewtrael weeks!  More adventures ahead – back soon!