(…and sometimes 12, depending on the day)  My mom and three of my nieces came to visit us for the week while they were on Spring Break.  I missed them and am thrilled they were able to journey north to spend some time with us!!

The house was a bit noisier.  A bit messier.  But…I loved every moment of it!  Here are some highlights from our week:

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His first time in a swing.  He was absolutely adorable as he giggled.

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We were playing Mad Libs with all the kiddos

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Mad Libs

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Niki and Zach N. prepping our synthetic egg dyes for Pysanky

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They all made cards for their three cousins in Boston

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Natural dyes for our eggs – Back row (left to right): Avocado = light pink, Yellow Onion Skins = Deep red/brown, Purple Cabbage = Bluish Purple, Beets = Red, Turmeric = Deep Yellow

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Chris is reading Every Time I Do My Cross by Pres. Angela Alatzakis.  I’ve known Pres. Angela since I was fourteen.  Her family attended my dad’s parish in Tulsa.  She just published her first Orthodox children’s book.

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Cady and Emma are playing with Gabriel while I’m making lunch

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I promised the kids that we would make Pysanky eggs.  They are Ukrainian Easter eggs.  It’s not really a young child project but with a little one on one help, the littles got to use our improvised kitska.

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The hardest part of the whole process is blowing the egg out of the shell.  You poke or drill a small hole at the top and bottom and literally blow.  It’s anything but easy.  Les and I made Pysanky eggs for the first (and only other time) when Niki was ten when we were researching and giving serious consideration to adopting from Ukraine.  (The only thing that stopped us was the cost but things all worked out for the best in the end.)  We all loved it and they turned out phenomenally!  I still have our eggs somewhere in a box in the garage.

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Zach N. decided to give it a try.  Maddie watched in fascination!

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All the kids patiently (sincerely) waiting for their turn.

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Gabriel had shots this week.  Poor guy.  He’s demonstrating how he prefers the idea of walking over crawling.  He can get his legs completely straight – he just needs to lift his arms off the ground.  I will have a little walker soon enough.

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Cady researching which egg she wants to try to create

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Our improvised kitska.  The kitska is the tool that is used to hold the melted beeswax and decorate the egg.  I couldn’t find the ones I had and my order did not show up when it was supposed to show up.  Thus, a promise is a promise in my book so I went to the store to find SOMETHING as an alternative.  I bought a frosting tip and a clay molding tool and had Les weld them together.  Ta da!

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Maddie looking through the egg design book

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The homemade kitska did not work as well as I had hoped.  Oh well.  I tried…and the kids had fun anyway.  We’ll be giving it a second try next weekend.  These are the eggs the kids dyed using the natural dyes/stains.  We used white, pink, and blue eggs which influenced the shade of each egg.

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Zach N. helped the kids build a fort out of fallen branches in the backyard

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Daddy relaxing in the hammock swing with Gabriel

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Maddie LOVED moving branches here and there in the yard

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Justin could not be outdone by his younger cousin

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I guess the small stick was not worth the risk of losing

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Cady is in charge!

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Little Emma

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The kids are putting on a play for us.

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Watching their play

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Last night with family – family bonfire & treat night!

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Enjoying our last night together