Monday, April 6, 2009

It's a LONG one....

WARNING: This is gonna be a long one, I can feel it.

The weekend was quite busy for us---one more reason I know Summer will be here soon!

Friday night we ate dinner at my parents'. They wanted to see us (who am I kidding? They wanted to see Miss Priss) before they headed to North Georgia. They are there now, anxiously awaiting the arrival of grandchild number 4, who is scheduled to arrive TOMORROW! If you think about it, say a little prayer for my brother and sister-in-law as they wait for baby Garrett to get here. I'm sure I'll post when I know he has arrived!

Anyway... Saturday was "get ready for the egg hunt" day around our house. We planned and hosted a Whitehurst Family Easter Gathering and Egg Hunt this year which was held on Sunday. Saturday, I had a few last minute things to do, which included baking 60 cupcakes and making a jelly bean topiary. I got the topiary idea from a fellow blogger (Hey, "Savannah Bride!")!

After all that baking, we headed to Suwannee to spend the afternoon with Adam, Carrie & Allie Claire at their family river house. How sweet it was to have those baby girls down there! I told Carrie that we had certainly come a long way from our days of laying on the dock sunning eating Milanos and gold fish, while sipping Hawaiian punch and reading Cosmo! (My Momma was right, that magazine IS trash...that was in my "wilder" day, though... ha)

Sunday was church. Here's Little Miss in her church dress when we got home.

After church, it was time to switch into high gear! We had to get to the Lodge and get ready for the egg hunt! We had such a great turn out. Probably around 80 people. Devin's family is really big, but so is mine, so it's not overwhelming to me, like it might be to some... My father-in-law has 11 first cousins. So the gathering consisted of them, their children and grandchildren. Would you believe we had almost everyone there?!?!? It was so great to be with everyone and to have our children together. We divided the kids (by age) into 4 groups. We had the babies (the "peeps"), the chicks (toddler-preschool), the lambs (K-2nd grade), and the bunnies (3rd-5th grade). We had a hayride on the "Bunny Express"-- (the trailer even had bunny ears and a tail, courtesy of Adam & Lauren) , a duck race (officiated by William and Stephanie, the Duck Masters), a fish pond (my little sister-in-law, Kelsey, played fish and put the prizes on the poles), and then each group had their own egg hunt. We had close to 10 kids in each group. (except the babies-- that was only Belle and one other cousin). I wasn't good at taking pictures. Dang it.

I wish I had gotten some of the duck races, it was SO cute! The kids were so competitive (it was hilarious!). The kids used a straw to blow their ducks down to the finish line. Some "outsmarted" us, and used the straw, not to blow, but to propel their duck down the "pond"! Too funny. The chick group was probably the cutest--- some even tried to DRINK the water with their straw... man, they were cute! Here's the flume we used. I thought it turned out really cute. It was some piece of something off the farm, that my Father-in-law came up with.

The "Peeps" (Belle and one other cousin) "hunted" eggs in an inflatable blow up pool. Here's Little Miss "hunting" eggs... (You can see we have discovered our hands, and there's nothing we'd rather chew on than them!)

Here's a few other pictures from the egg hunt. I'll only post ones where the children's faces aren't straight on. (Some parents aren't comfortable with their child's pictures being on the Internet... obviously not me...but still I don't want to make any Momma's mad!)

I didn't really get any good pictures of the tables either... here's a picture of the pavilion from way back. You can kind of see the picnic tables...

Here's what we did for centerpieces. (I took this at home...) We used different spring colored gingham fabrics for overlays on the tables, and I made these "Easter trees" for each of the tables... Remember that dead tree that was cut down in our field a couple weeks ago? I dragged (is that the correct term?) or drug up (?) a big limb from it, spray painted it and put them in flower pots and topped them off with egg ornaments... I think they looked fun and springy for the kids...

Here's the dessert table, overflowing with cupcakes and there's my jelly bean topiary! And yes, the plates, napkins and forks are all stacked on top of each other.... (in an attempt to keep them from blowing away...Lauren, my S-I-L, had already chased bunny napkins around by this point...)

After the party, I realized we hadn't even taken a picture together with Belle! Oh no... So before we changed, we ran down to my in-law's house and had DW's Daddy snap one of us real quick. Keep in mind this is post-party (which means post clean up and humidity and sweat...but at least we have one of the three of us together).... I hate any picture of me these days, but how cute is SHE? She just seems so girly... so tiny and petite... and that HAT...OH, that HAT....

* Note (added after post completed): There aren't any pictures after this... just me typing incomplete sentences, connected by dot, dot, dots, and probably mortifying any English teacher I ever had....and making Momma's all over the world hope that when I FINALLY use my education degree, it won't be by teaching THEIR child!) I warned yall, this is a LONG post... if you want to hear what I've got to say, (which I really can't imagine WHY you would, keep reading... if you only visit to see pics of my sweet baby girl... then that's all the pictures for this post... see ya next time...)

Anyway- back to the egg hunt:

I hope that everyone had as much fun at the party as we had putting it together.

After we welcomed everyone, I tried to explain why we wanted to plan a celebration this year. I don't really know if I said everything I had hoped to be able to say, but hopefully everyone understood what I was trying to get out.

I'll tell yall why, too.....Last year our immediate family didn't celebrate any holiday. We dreaded all of the firsts without our Cooper and were glad to see them pass. We survived all of those firsts, ONLY by the grace of God. Which is why this year I was really excited to celebrate Easter. As Christians, if we celebrate anything big it should be Easter. This is the season in which we celebrate the Risen Savior! We have HOPE because of His death and resurrection. As painful as it is to celebrate anything without our son, I cannot imagine living and not having that hope and promise of eternal life! I can't even begin to imagine what celebrations are going on in Heaven this week! The children of our church came in on Sunday morning carrying the palms, in recognition of Palm Sunday, and of course, I had that moment where my heart ached and I could feel that lump in my throat... All I could think about is how sweet my Cooper would have been up there with all the other kids. What I would give to have him back. But I have peace, knowing that he is safe and sound and perfect. Again, I don't know how we'd go on if we didn't have that hope. There won't ever be a holiday that is celebrated that we won't remember our sweet boy and thank God for the time we had him here with us. THAT is why I wanted to celebrate Easter big this year with those sweet kids!

We also celebrated Devin's great-uncle & aunt's 60th wedding anniversary at the party. 60 years! Is that not amazing? I sure hope Jesus comes back before we make it to 60 years, but if not, I'll gladly spend 54 more years married to DW!

As I mentioned earlier, my parents are in North Georgia waiting on baby Garrett to arrive, and they will probably miss Easter here this year. I'll be REAL honest---I don't much like sharing my Daddy and Momma, even with my own brother! Isn't that terrible? Somebody say a prayer RIGHT NOW for me, okay? Because I KNOW that's where they need to be and I really wouldn't have them be anywhere else, honest! But I'll be real honest, too, when I say, I was disappointed when I found out that they might not make it home to celebrate Easter with us this year. But, I had come to terms with it, and refocused my thinking on what Easter is REALLY about, and WHY I REALLY wanted to celebrate it this year, and that didn't require my Momma and Daddy to be here. I have to do a lot of refocusing sometimes. PLUS I have a husband who will call me out when I'm letting the green eyed monster come over me. Here's his exact words, "You know what's right, honey"... Dang it, Devin. As if it isn't bad enough that I have ALREADY been convicted by the Lord, you can't just let me wallow in it and agree with me?!?!? I love him for that. Thank you, God, for my husband. ANYWAY, (I told yall I could feel this was going to be a LOOOOOONG post)... I got myself right and ready to celebrate this weekend, even if my parents were here or not. Yes, they birthed me (well my momma did anyway), but this is about Jesus. Whew, my heart was feeling better already!

THEN, I got word from my cousin, Amy, that their families are all coming (they all live in N. Georgia, too) down for Easter! When I was little, most Easters were spent in North Georgia with my aunts, uncles and cousins. My parents, Beau & I, and our Granny & Papa would all go up there for the long weekend. Those were some pretty awesome egg hunts and my most fond Easter memories include my Georgia family.... sneaking upstairs at my Aunt Kay's house and seeing the momma's stuff Easter baskets at the kitchen table is one. There's also the year I got a spanking with a hairbrush on Easter morning. Well, maybe that's not exactly a FOND memory. (I didn't like my new dress that my Mom had gotten for me... looking back I can't believe I didn't love that dress... it was a "Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock" dress in baby blue with a lacy overlay. Man, I REALLY cant believe I didn't love that dress.... Do yall remember those dresses?? I am sure I'll get some payback someday, Mom, from my sweet girl...) ANYWAY... I also remembered our big egg hunts, the awesome prize egg (which always had money in it collected from all the Dads), and all the fun we cousins would have... In my mind THOSE were the biggest Easter celebrations I can remember having...So imagine my delight when Amy said they were coming down here for Easter this year! I said, "I want to celebrate Easter big this year" and the Lord is providing! Thank you Lord, for this blessing! I can't wait to spend Easter with some of my sweet, sweet family at my sweet, sweet Granny's house!

As you can tell, Easter has always had a special place with me...the cantatas and plays, the new dress and shoes, the chocolate bunnies, and prize eggs---the sunrise service and early morning breakfasts, the baskets and Reese eggs, the hymns we traditionally sing, my beloved Cadbury cream eggs... I could go on and on... But this year, Easter, as well as pretty much everything in my life, has such a deeper meaning to me. Don't get me wrong-- I'm going to enjoy dressing up that sweet baby girl in her new Easter dress (yall know you cant wait to see what it looks like!), top her head with a big ole bow, and stuff her precious little basket that her Daddy picked out for her and spend the afternoon at my Granny's with some of my family.... BUT more than all of that, I'll be praising the Lord and thanking Him for what this season is really about... the cross, the nails, the crown of thorns, the burial, and the EMPTY tomb! What hope and promise we have in THAT! I hope you'll be celebrating that as well!

And by the way, if the Easter Bunny just HAPPENS to leave me a Reese's Egg and Cadbury Cream egg in my basket, well that will just be icing on the cake and I'll fo' sho' celebrate that, too!



Sherrie said...

I looks like a lovely party. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I have a Cooper myself and my heart breaks for your loss. Your dd is absolutely adorable. God bless!

Lyndsay said...

Oh Annie, it is too early for me to be crying yet! I love you girl and am so glad God has been working in your life so much the past year. I absolutely love Easter too and this year I am having lunch at my house! I hope to start that tradition for Gus, since he is the only little kid we will have in the family for a while! Hopefully the Easter bunny brings some Cabury Eggs to me too because they are my most favorite. Say hey to the Georgia clan for me and I hope that you have a great Easter.

HeyHey said...

Annie, Belle just keeps getting prettier and prettier!!! If she keeps going at this rate, I see myself heading to Florida in the near future! :) I miss you all SO much!

Crystal said...

Annie, I knew you were a little Martha-ish, but I had no idea as to what extent!! Your tables are so cute!! And Miss still my heart...between her & Allie I hope they go for older boys!! I know these holidays are tough, but I'm so happy to see you enjoying them with Belle and know that we will NEVER forget Cooper, and he'll always be in our thoughts through everything you experience with Belle. Love ya girl!

Aleta Kaylee said...

It looks like y’all had a great time at the Easter shin-dig. BTW, that was an excellent idea to put the babies in a little pool to do some “egg huntin’” of their own. That way Miss Belle didn’t get too dirty :) Cute, cute, cute.
Honey, I know exactly what you mean about the green-eyed monster. Still at our age it can be hard to share sometimes. I know what you mean, you know that they’re at the place they need to be…but you want them here with you. Haha. Understandable. Don’t feel too bad about that. (Around Christmas I threw a hissy about Mom having to go off to Rheba’s horse show…it was cutting into our shopping time. Terrible, I know, but I still deal with that too.) :)
In reading that you still sometimes have a problem facing holidays without Cooper, I would just like to say what a special little boy he was. I know that you’ve heard and know that he’s in a much better place, but I also want to say that his memory is still living in the hearts of everyone that got a chance to meet him. I remember the few times he came into the Journal, and I just loved his visits. He was a very loved little boy. I know that you will still have bad days, and the pain you have felt/still feel is more that I can even begin to imagine. But I just would like you to know, that whenever you and your family cross my mind…I say a little prayer for you. I know that others do as well. And I hope that knowing that, on the hard days, will lift your spirits.
P.S. I’m glad that there are still some of us that remember the true meaning behind Easter. As commercialized as it is getting, it’s important, as you said, to praise the Lord for his Son and the sacrifice that was made. Great post, Annie.

Katie said...

Awww....what a sweet post! I love your jelly bean topiary! I will have to remember that for next year... The family picture of y'all is GREAT! We RARELY get family pics of us because we don't have any family around here. I reckon I need to start asking random people to take our pictures...haha! And oh goodness...Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock....HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Stop it! You kill me! I hope y'all have a truly wonderful and truly blessed Easter this year!