As a child, Easter was always one of my very favorite days. Although I can't say I remember ever commemorating the real reason for Easter (besides the obligatory church service on Easter morning), it was definitely a wonderful time with my family, full of wonderful memories. There was, of course, always the new Easter dress. My Nanny would always either buy me one (or two), or send us the money for one. When we arrived at my Nanny and Papa's house, it was always full of the aromas of ham, green beans, and a host of other wonderful smells. Every year she made a bunny cake that she would let me and my cousins frost, sprinkle with coconut, and then decorate with jelly beans....spiced jellybeans. YUM! After lunch, there were always plenty of eggs to color, and plenty of my cousins to color them with! When the eggs were all colored, the men would go to the backyard to hide the eggs, and my cousins and I would frantically try to make our way to the bathroom so we could stand in the tub and peek out the window to see where the eggs were being hidden. Someone would always catch us....although I don't know how with the squeals and giggles....and make us go sit in the living room for the AGONIZING five or ten minutes it took to get the eggs hidden. After "On your mark, get set....GO!", we would hunt the eggs in the backyard underneath the big old oak tree (that is, sadly, no longer there), and scramble to find the coveted prize egg before my rambunctious, very driven, boy cousins. :-) One year, the prize egg was just a regular egg covered in aluminum. I remember climbing up onto the concrete picnic table in the back yard and seeing aluminum in the dirt of one of my Nanny's flower pots, but for some reason, it never registered that THAT was the prize egg. (I was, obviously, just as observant and detail-oriented as I am now.). When all of my other cousins and I had waved the white flag of "surrender" for finding the prize egg, my sweet Papa (who is also not there anymore....totally have tears in my eyes right now) got it out of the dirt, and exclaimed that he got all the money for the prize egg. The jackpot was somewhere in the neighborhood of $.50, but to me, that was FORTUNE! Being the very competitive kid that I was, I begged and begged my Papa to let me have the prize, and being the softy that he was, he gave in and let me have it. :-) When the eggs were all found, we would sit around in the back yard on the old swing under the tree, passing around a salt shaker to sprinkle salt on our freshly peeled eggs before we ate them. One year, my Uncle Steve (a character and a half) who LOVED/LOVES to pick on me, was making us all laugh by busting his eggs on his forehead to crack them. Not wanting to miss out on a chance to make everyone laugh, I picked up an egg out of my basket to crack on my forehead, too. What I didn't know was that Uncle Steve had put a raw egg in my basket.
You can guess the rest.
I laughed then, and still do when I think about it. I could go on and on with the memories.
As the years have passed and my family has changed, Easter traditions have had to change over the years, as well. With so many parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, by birth and by law, we have about a 5 year rotation that we have tried to keep up to make sure we spend at least some of our Easters with everyone. In the midst of it all, I have tried very hard to make sure that Easter is a happy day for my girls. It has been hard to make a lot of traditions, being at a different house (or three) every year....but hopefully it has been happy for them,.
Since moving to Michigan, we have been able to change that somewhat. While we miss our families, it has been kind of neat to have a holiday that we can spend at home with our girls, creating our very own traditions. For the past two years we have invited friends over. So fun! Last year we made the traditional bunny cake, but this year Alyssa said, "Mom, if Easter is not about the bunny, and we don't celebrate the bunny, then why are you making a bunny cake? Couldn't we make a Cross, or something." Good point. We also colored Easter eggs after dinner...and added plastic ones with candy, and ate the traditional Easter meal of ham, potatoes, deviled eggs, and green beans...to name a few. One of the hardest parts of any holiday for me has been that I LOVE to cook and entertain, but when you are traveling the state, you don't get to do much of that. It has been a pleasure the past two years to get to do that. Easter has not been quite the same without mine and Jeff's extended family, but it has been so fun to have that time with our girls, and to make memories with precious friends here in Michigan.
On to this Easter:
My dream this year was to smock both of the little girls a bishop-style dress. After all, they are within about two years of being too old to wear a bishop style dress, and it has been a dream since they were born for them to have matching ones. Truthfully, I would rather buy them, but they are very expensive, so I decided this year was the year I would make them. Unfortunately, however, the company that I ordered the pattern and supplies from were not feeling my urgency and the pattern didn't arrive until 5 days before Easter. Yep, took them a month and a half to ship a pattern. So I followed my life's mantra:
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape"....
and made a different one. Actually I made the three youngest girls a dress. Alyssa found one in the store she loved....having the model figure does. So.....here they are:
I have a new friend at church that plays the flute. Woo-hoo! We played a duet for the offertory Easter morning. And, no, we did not talk about what we were going to wear. I guess great minds think alike. :-)
The hunt is on!
How many red-heads does it take to get the egg that some Daddy thought it would be VERY FUNNY to put WAY HIGH UP!?
Megan goes in deep for her find.
The little girls went straight to their playhouse with their loot. Look at Clara's face. Cracks me up. :-)
Megan and Marley...sweet friends.
It has become a (maybe not too good) tradition to take a picture of all the kids in front of the garage. The good part is that we have a picture of all the kids here two years in a row. The bad part is that the sun is right in their eyes. :-) Here is the Bryant Bunch with the Finch Gang. Good looking group of kids, don'tcha think? :-) Alyssa looks like she should be theirs with that beautiful red hair.
And the Cross cake.
Since we were already modifying the "bunny cake" tradition, we also opted to remove the coconut. I like coconut, but some people have a severe aversion to coconut. I had a friend in Georgia who wouldn't eat it because it reminded her of fingernail clippings. Nice, huh? You're welcome. That was free. :-) One thing I did this year that I rarely do (that I would like to consider making a tradition)....I used a cake mix and canned frosting. SO MUCH EASIER!
As wonderful as all of this was, my most precious Easter moment came the day before Easter as I sat at the dining room table finishing up some last minute projects. I had the wood-burning tool out, cutting some ribbon for hair bows, and Clara was sitting on the table watching me. Yes....sitting ON the table. It's always been one of her favorite things to do, and I enjoy her company. She was talking on and on (again, not unusual) and asking a hundred questions about the wood-burning tool, a relatively new toy in our craft arsenal. I was explaining to her that it gets hot....even hotter than an oven, and that she would not be allowed to use it for a very long time.
She said, "Yeah, because you don't want your precious darlin's to get burned, so you use it for us.
And then, as if a 400 Watt light bulb had gone off in her head, she gasped and said, "Mom! You're just like Jesus."
My first instinct was to stop her and immediately correct her to tell her that I am nothing like Jesus, as hard as I try. It felt almost blasphemous....impossible....to be compared to such a perfect man.
Thankfully, God shut my mouth, and Clara continued:
"You get hurt so we don't have to, just like Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we don't have to."
Have I ever mentioned that these children take my breath away sometimes? She gets it. She really gets it!! I pray that is a truth that continues to sink deeper and deeper into her heart as she grows into her adult years. Oh, to have realized that at such a young age. What would my life be like now? I praise God for His grace in my life and in the lives of my children. I pray He continues to let His truth penetrate their hearts and minds so they will grow to be like Him.
And maybe they do listen to us sometimes?? Who knew?!
I hope your Easter was blessed!!