Monday, April 5, 2010

My Favorite Holiday

I love Easter.  I really do.  My husband claims that he didn't know it was my favorite holiday until last year.  I think he just has a bad memory.

Growing up, his family didn't do the Easter bunny thing.  And they really only got Easter candy AFTER Easter was over because that was when it was all on sale.  I can understand that.

But the Easter bunny DID come to my house when I was a kid.  So early in our marriage, Shaggy & I had to decide which traditions would prevail.  He wanted to downplay ALL the non-religious Easter associations.  Meaning no candy, no baskets, no egg hunts.

Which left Easter dresses and sugar cookies.  Well, anybody who read my post regarding sugar cookies, knows that there was NO WAY that was going to become our main family Easter tradition.

I do love the dresses, and having three girls has made it all the more fun.  I do feel a little bad for J every year being the odd man out stuck in the middle of all his sisters with their nicely coordinated girlie clothes.  In the beginning, the coordinated outfits were more a result of the ease factor than anything else.  When I found a cute dress at a resonable price, it was just easier to buy two of the same thing than try to search for another outfit.

As time went on, and I became more addicted to photography, Easter became one of the two times during the year when I would muster the necessary energy to try for a nice family photo.  And a nice photo of all the kids together.  Hence the color coordination.

And since I go through the herculean effort of making sure the kids are all clean and nicely groomed AT THE SAME TIME (yes, that is the tricky part), I figure I might as well try to get some good individual portraits as well.  The kids have come to expect, if not look forward to, a photo shoot every Easter and Christmas.  How they suffer having me as their mother.

But someday, hopefully, they will be grateful for these photos.

We took advantage of the orchard blossoms this year and did our portraits there.  It was quite a bit before Easter, but there's no way I could come up with a better spring-like background than that!

There really is something truly amazing about being completely surrounded by beauty.  Stepping into the orchards is like stepping into another world.  Sounds are muted.  The aroma of fruit and blossoms fill the air.  Every glance, in any direction, is met with a scene that uplifts the soul.

As for our family Easter traditions, we came to a compromise.  No Easter bunny.  Which was fine with me.  I was never really all that attached to him anyway.  Or is it a her?  See what I mean, I don't even know the poor bunny's gender.

But the egg decorating and hunting stayed.  And the baskets, although we don't really fill them up on Sunday morning.  We mostly use them for the Easter egg hunt, which we do on Saturday, leaving Sunday for family, food and religion. 

I love the colorful nature of the Easter season.  It's not confined to a few traditional colors like so many other holidays.  Pretty much any color under the sun is embraced by this holiday--with the possible exception of black.

These stuffed bunnies are as close as we come to the Easter bunny.  Although one of them, you'll notice if you look closely enough, is actually a bear in a bunny costume.  He's my favorite.  But honestly, I don't remember where any of these bunnies came from.  We pull them out of the Easter box every year, to the children's delight.  But I don't think I purchased ANY of them.  Apparently my memory isn't so great, either.

We haven't had our egg hunt at the same place every year.  Sometimes we've joined our church group, or some friends.  But this old estate, turned city park is one of our favorite spots.  The olive avenue won out this year.  And it turned out pretty great--who knew there were so many perfect egg hiding spots on an olive tree?

We send the kids off on a walk while we hide the eggs.

And we don't always get all that creative in our hiding spots.  But considering that we have a two-year-old, that's probably a good thing.

Once we allow the kids back in the vicinity, we have to specify how many eggs of each size and type they are allowed to collect.  Somewhat controlling, I know.  But over the years we've learned that it's the best way to avoid any egg fights.  There's NOTHING like bickering to ruin the whole event for everyone.  Besides, it's a great way to make sure we actually collect all of our eggs.

And then, of course, comes the sugar frenzy.  The part the kids love most of all.  Some years we worry about their health and try to regulate their intake.  Which only makes it all the more annoying.  So usually, we just encourage them to listen to their bodies to decide how much candy to eat at a time.

J told us several times this year that his tummy told him he could eat one egg full of candy, plus two more.  Of course with him, the peeps went first.  They've always been his favorite.

Not surprisingly, his candy was gone first.  His tummy seems to be more lenient than his sisters'.  R forgets about her candy unless she sees it, so she unknowingly shares a lot with her parents.  K finishes hers a day or so after J.  And S, who ironically is the most impatient of my kids, always has lots of candy left long after everyone else has finished theirs. And she always shares with them.  She really is an amazingly generous soul.

One of my favorite Easter memories comes from a prayer S said a few years back.  "Please help us remember the true meaning of Easter . . . and not get sick from eating too much candy."

Pretty much sums it all up for me.  Happy Easter!!

No comments: