Monday, March 28, 2016

Strand-Lafferty Easter take 7

There are few things that can elicit the same degree of excitement in our household as talk of the annual visit from Penny for Easter. This is now the 7th(?) annual visit. It started kind of on a whim from the Strands, and it has turned into an annual event that simply cannot not happen. It is written in stone. Commandment Number 11, if you will.

Now, if anyone ever doubted that Molly was an emotional girl, which you seriously shouldn't, the visit from Penny will eliminate any of those doubts. I swear, she turns into a screaming fan girl at a One Direction concert at the thought of Penny coming to town. (Or, what her mother would've been like had she ever been taken to a NKOTB concert. Which, I wasn't. I just had to imagine what it would've been like. No bitterness here, though, folks. I did make my childhood dreams come true a few years ago when I saw NKOTB at the Sprint Center as a 30-odd-year-old woman. And, it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. Step by Step, ooh, baby ... But, I digress.)

Molly starts looking forward to Easter on the day after Easter the previous year. Well, OK, after she stops crying about the fact that Penny is no longer here. But, it starts getting serious after Christmas. I can't really blame her. The months between Christmas and Easter do kind of suck. What with the snow and long, dark nights. Not fun. The countdown is on immediately after we pack the stockings away. And, it doesn't stop.

I realize the excitement is almost more for the idea of Penny (not that Penny isn't awesome). But it's just the idea of this amazing, fun-filled, candy-laden weekend that really excites Molly. This year, she made decorations, cards, bunnies, crafts, and even picked up poop in the backyard so she could earn money to buy all three girls matching stuffed peeps. This build-up has been going on for a long time. Molly has been trying to count the number of times in her life that she's seen Penny. When I tried to explain to her that she's already seen Penny more times in her life than I saw Laura for the entirety of my childhood, she just didn't care. No matter how often, it's just not enough.

(Have you noticed I haven't mentioned Charlotte at all? She loves the annual Strand visit as well, but her emotions are much more rational and even-keeled. Thus, not as interesting for a blog.)

So, with all this build-up and all this excitement, the weekend was finally upon us. The Strands were supposed to leave Minnesota at 3 on Thursday and be here by around 10 Thursday night. Well, on Wednesday night, Laura sends me a message that they are expecting 14 inches of snow on Thursday morning up there. WHAT?!?!? Mother Nature, what are you doing to me? How can I possibly explain to Molly that the Easter visit might not happen due to a snowstorm in Minnesota?!?! So, I did what I'm always eager to do. Ignore that a problem exists and hope everything turned out ok. And guess what? For once in my life, that plan actually worked!

The snow stopped, the plows came, the sun shone, and the Strands were on the road. It was glorious news. Not the least for me because I didn't have to deal with a broken-hearted 8-year-old. They got here late, and Molly and Charlotte both woke up when Penny came to bed. It did take a while, but eventually they all went back to sleep.

The next morning was another tradition. Laura coming to Bar Method with me. She's coming with me the last couple years. The first year was hard, but now Laura is in amazing shape, so she was a total pro.
We, of course, had to take a picture to document the start of the weekend.

We always look for different things to do with the Strands when they're here because they are super cool, adventurous folk. And, we want to seem cooler than the suburb-living, soccer-game going folks that we are. So, this year, we decided to take them down to the KC Public Library to see the awesome building that looks like books. And, of course, to take pictures.

The girls were not as impressed with the library as I had hoped. The roof was pretty cool because they could see out around downtown KC a bit, but we didn't actually have a library card for the library, so we couldn't check out any books. They thought the old bank vault in the basement was pretty cool, but we were pretty much done with the library in a short time. We walked a short distance to a cool lunch place, then found a bakery that a friend had recommended for dessert. We got there right as they were closing, but they let us in to buy some yumminess. We then went back to the library steps to eat our delicious treats.

The girls checking out the books.

We had to pose on the book steps.

Laura and Amy on the roof of the library.

The girls in the basement with the old bank vault.

We stopped by a bakery for dessert treats, and they gave us some baguettes. So, when Laura found a moped, she just had to act the proper French lady she is at heart.

The girls eating their treats back on the library book stairs.

I, of course, just had to get a brownie with a peep on top. I only ate about half the brownie, but demolished the whole peep.

After fun downtown, we headed back out our direction and bowled a few frames at Pinstripes. We discovered that, at Pinstripes, even adults can have bumpers. Do you know what that means? I finally won a game of bowling! Score. After, Charlotte needed to take a picture on some bunnies.

Three little bunnies.

Last year, I was coming back from the same darn plantar fasciitis injury that still plagues me to this day. So, I unilaterally chose to not have us participate in the Easter Egg 5K that we had done the previous couple years. Apparently, this was a poor choice, as all the girls were majorly disappointed. My stupid pride. I didn't want to run it if I couldn't run it fast. Well, this year, I wasn't going to disappoint the girls again, so we signed up for it. This year, Cory, Laura and I all ran the 5K while Chris watched the girls. Then, the girls ran in the kids' run. The forecast was for rain in the morning, so we weren't sure what to expect. It turned out the best that it possibly could. It sprinkled a little just 5 minutes before the start, then stopped. Then, right as we were leaving after the kids' run, it started actually raining.

I wasn't sure about my foot this year. I've been in PT for the past 10 weeks. And, it has gotten significantly better. But, it's not 100 percent. And, I've only run some 3-mile runs, and one 4-mile run. And, they were slow. I told myself that it didn't matter how fast I ran. As long as I finished. Yeah ... so, about that competitive bone in my body ... I couldn't stop myself from starting out fast. I mean, all the other kids were doing it. And, I just kept going. I didn't know how long I would last. But, it turns out, I didn't do half bad. I ended up with a time of 23:29, only one second slower than my time in 2013. And, good enough for 2nd place in my age group. I was pretty happy considering I could barely walk on my foot at the beginning of the year. I guess these PTs do know what they're doing afterall.

The girls with the Easter Bunny.

Laura also did incredible and ran faster than she ever, c has in her whole life. So proud of her!

Before the race and the rain.

Saturday night was the annual Easter Egg Hunt at our house. It was chaos as usual. And, luckily, the rain stopped a few hours before the start and the sun came out for a bit, so it actually ended up being a pretty nice evening, considering how it had seemed like earlier in the day.

Lots of littles at this year's hunt.

This picture cracks me up because Charlotte is totally calling out Mitchell for trying to get an egg before the official start. I'm not sure where she got that finger pointing from ...

Megan, Sarah W., Amy, Sarah R., and Tanya. Love these ladies.

After the hunt, it's swing time!

After the excitement of the egg hunt, we had sadness of KU losing (well, I was super sad anyway) then it started snowing on Easter morning. Bummer of a way to end the trip. With the Strands needing to get on the road and the snow outside, we didn't make it to church. And, the girls' pictures aren't quite as cute as they have been in past years.


The best attempt.

Yeah, this is just about the cutest. Oh, silly girls.

Molly, of course, cried when the Strands pulled away. But, it didn't last for hours like last year, so we're moving in a positive direction. I'm pretty sure she's already planning next year, though, so Mother Nature better cooperate better in 2017!

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