Easter In The Valley

Easter In The Valley

A few months ago we started talking with some friends about taking a trip out to Massadoah with us. As we looked at dates, we realized Easter was one that worked for both our families. After individual family discussions, and realizing that any family traditions we each had would be easily transported out into the Valley, we set the date.

Wow! It was absolutely magical. I could easily see making Easter at Massadoah our family tradition for many years to come, and one of the wonderful things about having friends out there with us was being exposed to other traditions that we can absorb into our own.

The kids and I had planned to leave on Friday morning so we’d be out there to greet Buds and our friends when they arrived in the afternoon. Then, Thursday night, Chip, who was going to stay home and be cared for by our neighbors, decided to go lame and swell up his front ankle joint. Quick change of plans; Chip to the vet on Friday morning, Buds comes home from work early, we load up both our vehicles, and Chip gets an Easter trip out to the Valley, too!

Buds and Thy finding Massadoah on the map in the kitchen.

The great thing about taking T, L, T, and C out into the Valley is that their family slotted right in easily. Very relaxed, flexible, and willing to have fun. T and L didn’t mind when Buds and I conked out at 9 p.m. on Friday night, exhausted from being up with children during the night and up early for the WOD. Their girls disappeared to play with our crew, happy to be out in the fresh air, happy to play, happy to just be together. It was so pleasant.

As always, tetherball was a kid-magnet.
A kitchen table is such a perfect gathering place. And, of course, playdough!
Boiling up eggs for the outdoor egg hunt on Sunday.
Relaxing and visiting
Monkey created a elaborate playdough creations. She loves having both arms back.

I spent much of Saturday being tutored by fellow Massadoah Partner, John The Wonderful, on how to use the zero-turn lawn mower, then mowing up down and all around at Massadoah. I loved it. I love mowing, and I loved being outside working to make Massadoah beautiful. While I mowed, children played, read, L and T went on a mountain bike ride, playdough, tetherball, games, and food prep. Then, Buds decided he was ready to give some children an adventure in the canoe.

It's a bird...
It's a plane...
No, no, it's...
A Canoe with legs...and there it goes...

Louisa and I watched in awe as Canoe Man walked by, and we may have offered to help, but we couldn’t hear any cries of help coming from the canoe, so we just continued to watch in awe. I did learn later how heavy the canoe actually is, so these pictures are a testament to Buds and CrossFit.

A little side-ways canoeing through some rapids.
Zipping right along in the low, but quick-moving river.
John The Wonderful helping to load up the canoe.
The two canoe adventurers and the little sister.
Time to sketch and enjoy the sunny porch
Bless Thy's heart! He handled the egg dying with the kids.

That's a lot of eggs!
Phew, Thy has earned a rest!

Buds grilled us up some delicious burgers and dogs for dinner. Then, as we turned our thoughts to the evening’s entertainment: S’mores, Sparklers, and Stars, he got a funny little light in his eye.

“I’ll bet I could use those shockingly hot coals to make a fantastic fire really fast,” he said.

(Parts of this conversation may have been edited for Jennie’s personal humor benefit.

“You could,” I said, wondering how this was going to end up. “It could be a really brilliant idea, or a really bad idea.”

Well, as you probably guessed, he decided it was well worth the try.

Rolling up the hill by the big house.
This is about the point where I told him it was fun to watch our own personal episode of "Jackass" unfold before my eyes.
The children wisely went to play tetherball while adult fire escapades were going on.
It worked! He made it to the fire ring.
Dumped out the hot coals...no problem!
And then the third leg fell off...Phew, he must be livin' right.
It was a gorgeous fire, and started really quickly. Next time, we grill next to the fire ring.
Enjoying the beginning of the setting sun.
Let the peep roasting begin!
S'mores were eaten...
Sparklers were lit and planted.
This felt safer to the "sparkler-phobic."

Buds brought out the telescope.
Mercury, Venus, and Mars could all be seen with the naked eye. Not sure the telescope helped much.
Then a couple rounds of Glow Tag.
Louisa getting the rolls ready for Sunday morning.

Before we retired for the night, Louisa and I snuck back outside and laid down in the grass to stare up at the stars. It was the first time I had really watched the stars for a long time. It was magical and peaceful and so beautiful. Wow…the universe is vast. We were able to see a couple planes and even some satellites.

Baskets waiting for owners.

One tradition from Thy and Louisa that we’ll hang on to next year was “hiding” the Easter baskets in an easy to find spot so the children find those first. Then, after everyone has a chance to wake up, and maybe even have a bite to eat, the actual egg hunt ensues. This worked out perfectly for us because our two early risers had something to entertain them until the rest of the crowd awakened on Easter morning.

Leading them down from the apartment with closed eyes so they can't see any eggs on the walk.
Waiting to open their eyes to see their baskets.
Eating some chocolate for breakfast. A time-honored Easter tradition.
Sorting through the Easter goodies
Another basket collected...
More basket dissection
The festive "lavender" rolls Louisa created. I'm not sure she got the appropriate appreciation for her creativity. 😉
Let the hunt commence.
That tricky bunny hid eggs all around the house, fire pit, front lawn, and deck.
He even resorted to just dropping eggs in little hollows in the ground.
Running and searching.
Looking over the eggs. The baby slug that had attached itself to an egg was discovered later.
An Easter head butt.
A little quiet time post-hunt
The children created an elaborate egg swapping game that they played for hours.
Peeps and Pez... a perfect repast in this pastoral place
A happy basket of eggs

After a lovely, low-key Easter lunch, we cleaned, packed up, and headed out. Louisa even biked out, as one final tribute to the active, yet relaxing weekend we all loved.

Happy Easter.