April 19 & 20, 2014 – Easter Weekend

Ryan and Leigh are in Michigan this weekend and Jon and the boys are coming for an overnight on Saturday. Oh, wait a minute, Easter is Sunday! So I rev up for another celebration. My plan is for the boys to color hard boiled eggs and to find some candy in plastic eggs hidden in the house.

Sam is all over the plan for coloring Easter eggs. Nathan decides he would rather play with his Legos. Sam takes charge of most of the eggs, dipping them in the colors and adding stickers to them.

At first Sam is very careful dipping the eggs

At first Sam is very careful dipping the eggs


Soon, though, his whole hand is colored along with the eggs

Soon, though, his whole hand is colored along with the eggs


Sam wants to take a picture of his eggs. I give him my camera, show him where to press the button and he is all in with taking pictures.
Sam's picture of his Easter eggs

Sam’s picture of his Easter eggs


Sam's picture of the parsley he ate last week

Sam’s picture of the parsley he ate last week


The off he runs with the camera to take pictures of Zayde, Daddy and Nathan playing catch in the backyard. Zayde is trying to explain the proper way to throw and catch. Both Nathan and Sam make some good throws.
Jon and Nathan playing catch

Jon and Nathan playing catch


Nathan getting ready to throw to Zayde

Nathan getting ready to throw to Zayde


After an early rising the next morning the boys are eager to find their candy. Nathan has his hidden in the family room/kitchen and Sam in the living room. Nathan is eager to help Sam find his. He really wants to point them out to Sam. We play “you’re getting warmer” to help both boys find their treats. It is a big hit as you can tell from their smiles.
Nathan finding an egg

Nathan finding an egg


Sam zooming up to get his first egg

Sam zooming up to get his first egg


Nathan finding his difficult-to-find egg

Nathan finding his difficult-to-find egg


Sam finds an egg in the Lego box

Sam finds an egg in the Lego box


Later John and Jon play tennis and then we all go out to lunch at Chili’s, such fine dining!. Jon reminisces about our best Easter ever (in Islamorada listening to a 12 string guitar and eating hotdogs out on the deck of a drive-your-boat up restaurant when he was maybe 16) This is a pretty good one too.

April 12, 2014 – Passover Celebration!

Passover is starting in a couple of days but we are doing our Seder a little early so that the whole family can be together. Sarah comes over on Friday to help me with the preparations for Saturday. She makes her outstanding macaroons and helps with the table setting. We have placecards held up by little frogs, our larger ceramic frog bank with parsley sticking out of its coin slot, and of course all the Seder paraphernalia. There’s also a display of our plague puppets that we made last year on the mantle. We are festive and ready to go!

Seder table set

Seder table set


Plague puppets on the mantle

Plague puppets on the mantle


Jon and family arrive and Sarah and Jon have some fun with the plague puppets. Sarah holds “Slaying of the First Born” up next to Jon. However, they decide on “Beasts” for Jon and “Darkness” for Sarah. All rather apt I think. Nathan and Sam busy themselves with Legos before dinner.
Sarah holding up the Slaying of the First born puppet next to Jon. No sibling rivalry there!

Sarah holding up the Slaying of the First born puppet next to Jon. No sibling rivalry there!


A better choice, Beasts for Jon and Darkness for Sarah

A better choice, Beasts for Jon and Darkness for Sarah


Nathan playing with Legos

Nathan playing with Legos


Sam playing with Legos

Sam playing with Legos


Sam also has time to work with Mommy and Auntie Leigh on some plague finger puppets.
Sam really enjoys his art projects

Sam really enjoys his art projects


And now it is time to begin. John says the blessings and lights the candles. We all drink the first glass of wine leaning on our left sides.
Sam tries to copy Zayde leaning on his left side

Sam tries to copy Zayde leaning on his left side


John, Sarah, Leigh and Jon lean on their left sides and enjoy the first glass

John, Sarah, Leigh and Jon lean on their left sides and enjoy the first glass


Now it is time for the first washing of the hands. Nathan takes the bowl of water and towel around to each participant.
Nathan helps Zayde with the washing of hands

Nathan helps Zayde with the washing of hands


Next we eat a Spring vegetable. Sam discovers that he loves parsley dipped in salt water and eats all the parsley on both Seder plates and then goes outside to cut some more.
Sam eating parsley

Sam eating parsley


After removing drops of wine from our glasses to signify each plague, we raise our second glass but do not drink from it. Sam seems to love the rules and tells everyone that they can raise their glass but they must not drink from it.
Nathan raises his glass with Mommy

Nathan raises his glass with Mommy


Sam raises his glass

Sam raises his glass


Nathan reads the four questions for the second year, John sings them in Hebrew to two different tunes. I think the kids are amazed at all the strange sounds coming from Zayde. It makes the whole celebration a little mysterious.
Nathan reads the four questions

Nathan reads the four questions


We have our wonderful festive meal of matzoh ball soup, boneless leg of lamb on the grill, mashed potatoes, green beans and the yummy macaroons. John bargains with Nathan and Sam to get the Afikoman back. They each get $20. We open the door to see if Elijah is out there. Nope. Finally we sit around singing songs. This has been the best Passover Seder yet!
Zayde and Sam singing "Who knows One." I think they are up to "who knows ten."

Zayde and Sam singing “Who knows One.” I think they are up to “who knows ten.”

March 30 – April 7, 2014 – Sam, Nathan, Ryan and Jon visit St. George

We have really been looking forward to the Pilats’ visit. John and I arrive a couple of days ahead of time to get things ready.


John and I drive down to Las Vegas to pick Jon, Sam and Nathan at the airport. Ryan is coming a few days later. Yay, they are here and we get right down to the all important hors d’ouevres. I believe that John and I will always be remembered for cocktail time and snacks!
The all-important cocktail hour

The all-important cocktail hour


Nathan and Sam are good sleepers and have no trouble being in a new place. They wake early each morning full of energy for the day.

One day we spend some time at the park nearby. Nathan has outgrown this little park but he still enjoys a piece of play equipment (I don’t know what to call it) that spins around on a slant. Of course, snacks at the park are always a hit. Actually snacks anywhere are always a hit.

Another day we go over to the club so that Jon and John can play tennis. The boys find interesting ways to amuse themselves.

Last time they were here, they really enjoyed an off-road experience so we decide to do it again to a new location, Bloomington Cave. It is very cold and windy and Jonathan and the boys only manage to go a little way down the trail. Out of the wind, they have their trail mix. Going into the caves themselves is not allowed without a permit.

Times at home are spent playing with Legos, reading and drawing.

Finally Mommy arrives. Nathan and Sam are very excited to see her. The next few days are spent mostly at the city pool with the big slide and going to Zion National Park for a hike. John and I opt out of the pool experience but are keen to go with the whole family to Zion. Our plan is a short stop at the visitor center, then a ride on the bus to the Weeping Wall, hike up the trail and return to the bus for the ride back to the parking lot. All of us enjoy this very much.

Our last big adventure is lunch out at Mesa Grill in Las Vegas before the kids catch their flight home. The food is very good and the company is great!