Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Easter Celebration

For as long as I can remember, holidays in my family were not always celebrated on the actual holiday. Sometimes, your birthday fell on a paper day, or we had to cut something short because of the paper.  But it never changed the actual celebration.  It always involved spending time with your family, and no matter when we celebrated, I always knew how much I was loved.

The Herschelman family - Easter 2015
Easter this year was no different for the Herschelmans.  We started with a special egg hunt at Grace's preschool on Wednesday.  The kids each found an egg with his or her name on it, and then got to look around the playground.  Grace just loved the egg with her name on it, and it had a purple cross necklace inside it, which she wore for the rest of the day.  Her preschool teachers tell me she really loves the songs they sing in school about Jesus, and that Jesus Loves Me is one of her very favorites.

Grace with her preschool friends after their egg hunt.
My mom and dad were going out of town on Easter, so we celebrated with them on Friday night with dinner and an egg hunt. Grace had an Easter basket, full of goodies, like a new Cardinals shirt.  

Gracie smiles with Grandma and Grandpa Galer.
And while she couldn't exactly hunt the eggs herself this year, she was very excited to get them.  They had change in them, so she liked shaking them, and just smiled at the big pile in her lap.

All smiles after hunting eggs.
Saturday we celebrated by getting some Easter sweet treats at the bake sale in Grace's honor, and then we went to a soccer game at Busch Stadium.

One of the things I remember about Easter growing up was the jelly bean trail that led to my Easter basket.  Johnny and I just loved following that trail to our baskets. At one point, I was looking forward to sharing that memory with Grace, but since it's kind of hard, the Easter Bunny left her basket right next to her bed where she would see it first thing in the morning.  

Daddy helps Grace check out the new clothes in her Easter basket.
Then, it was time to get ready for church, and I could hardly wait for her to wear her new Easter dress, which was peach colored this year.  We got up early for Sunday School, which Grace really loves.  She likes to see her friends, and even helps me color on her papers a little.  Our church service was very nice too.  One of Grace's friends, Katie, asked if Grace could sit by her in church, and I'm not sure which one of the girls enjoyed it more.  They also enjoyed an egg hunt after church in the park.  

Grace and Katie after the egg hunt.
I was counting down the days to Easter this year for another reason.  Before Lent started, I decided I would give up soda (mainly Diet Coke) for the entire Lenten season.  I have given up things before, but not in several years.  And I wasn't sure I wanted to do it this year.  But as the days approached, I kept thinking about the miracle that I pray for each and every day.  It seemed like I could do something so very small to think about the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for us.  And it was really hard to do.  I thought about that sacrifice so many times during the Lenten season, and also prayed for that miracle.

Grace with three of the Herschelman siblings.
After church (and after Kyle went through McDonald's to get me a Diet Coke), we headed to his grandma's house in Raymond for lunch and another egg hunt.  It was so much fun to see everyone, and three of Kyle's cousins helped Grace hunt eggs, blow bubbles and just have a fun afternoon.  Grace absolutely loved all the attention and just being with everyone.

Grace loved all the attention from Kayley, Kensey and Katelyn, who had a very special card for Grace. Katelyn celebrated her birthday in March with a party for her friends. Instead of gifts, Katelyn asked them to donate to Grace's research study. Thanks, Katelyn!
Grace and her daddy found the golden egg with $5 in for Grace's piggy bank!
In a final celebration, we had dinner at my aunt and uncle's house in Hillsboro on Monday evening.  Since it's hard to find a time for everyone to get together, we also celebrated my grandma's 86th birthday and Grace's cousin, Izzy's second birthday.  For dinner, Grace and Izzy are the new "kids" table, and since they're small, both sets of parents and cousin Keith get to sit at the "kids" table too.  And it's kind of fun to still be seated at the kids table, even if the maturity level has gone up some over the years.  We also had a great time watching Izzy open her birthday presents with delight, and just enjoyed being together.

We loved celebrating Izzy's second birthday together!
And in the end, that's what holidays come down to, a chance to be with the ones that you love.  It doesn't matter when you celebrate or even what you do.  It's just sharing time with some special people and telling them how much they mean to you, and holidays are a great excuse to do just that.

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