Easter basket tradition…

The running joke at our house lately is that Halllie will soon be moving on and as such we’re having a lot of “Lasts” (Even though we all know better – kids always seem to make their way home ever after they’ve moved away!)

Yesterday, Easter, as we were taking our traditional Easter basket pictures, the boys were joking about next years picture with only four people. Hallie is looking to serve a mission for our church and it is likely she won’t be around next Easter. It made me start to think of all the years we’ve taken photos with these same baskets.

Hunter was just a baby when I started this tradition and our family continued to grow over the years – we’re now starting the decline of kids living at home and our picture will get smaller and smaller. 🙂

Bennett was born just two days after this picture of Hallie and Hunter – which is why the next year he wasn’t a very little baby!

Easter 2024…

Today was a cold and rainy Easter – not something we’ve seen since moving to Arizona years ago but I had flashbacks to our snowy Wisconsin Easter celebrations.

We had a fully loaded crepe breakfast before heading off to church. Our church services were full of beautiful testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ through song and word and it was lovely on all accounts. (Hallie, Hunter and Bennett even participated in one of the musical numbers!) In an effort to make this holiday a little more special, we spent the week focused on different aspects of Holy Week, watched inspiring videos and messages, attended the Easter Pageant at the Mesa Temple and listened to inspirational music. I am grateful for the additional focus and how it impacted my worship and gratitude for Jesus Christ as we celebrated Easter today.

I wanted to take our annual Easter pictures after church while we were all dressed in our Sunday best but it was rainy and miserable and not worth the struggle and I think all the kids were a little surprised I was willing to give it up so quickly. A casual picture will have to do this year!

Luckily, the rain cleared (although it was still rather cold for an Arizona spring) by the time we gathered with family for dinner and the egg hunt was able to continue as planned. The teenagers hid eggs for the younger kids in the backyard and the adults hid eggs for the teenagers in the front yard. I’m realizing you’re never too old to enjoy a challenging egg hunt – especially when some of the eggs contain money!

I’m grateful for friends who carry on traditions for us and that includes coloring eggs – something I gave up many years ago but we enjoy with friends each year. I’m not even sure many people still hide real eggs but they sure are fun to decorate.

Broken decoration…

It has been years since I put any Easter decorations out. It seems like we’re always gone for spring break and Easter sneaks up on me and I just haven’t been good about getting decorations out. But this year, I was cleaning out the garage when I came across the Easter boxes and decided this was the year to pull it all out.

Briggs didn’t even know we had Easter decorations and he was obsessed with the ceramic bunny. Steve and I were out one night while Hallie babysat and the next morning I noticed the ears sitting next to the bunny.

I sent Hallie a text while she was at school to try and get to the bottom of the broken ears. This was her response.

You’d think I would’ve tossed the broken decoration. But I didn’t. It stayed on our counter all the way through Easter. First, so I could question Briggs about what happened to it and watch him squirm. Second, is there any better holiday than Easter to have a broken decoration sit on the counter?! It was a gentle reminder the whole season that we’re all a little broken, which is why Easter is so important and why we need a Savior.

Easter 2022…

Last week was the longest week ever! We had the slowest moving stomach bug for over a week. And just when we thought we were in the clear, Bennett knocked on my door at 6:30 Easter morning saying he didn’t feel well. I will spare all the details but it didn’t end pretty.

Easter was a little different. We could either leave Bennett home and the rest of the family could go enjoy a nice dinner with extended family, or we could stick it out as a family at home. We were concerned who might be the next one to catch the bug in our family and unknowingly pass it to someone at the family gathering. So against the vote of our children, we spent the afternoon at home as a family.

I had already made all the rolls for our large extended gathering and I just needed to pull them out of the freezer to rise. I made a call to my sister-in-law who was hosting later that afternoon and informed her we were out but the rolls would be in. In return we would swing by for some food and bring it home for our family. Side note: I pulled out the rolls to rise before church but I got stuck in a meeting after church and I came home to Hunter cooking batches of rolls! I asked him how he knew how long to cook them and he said he didn’t, he just kept looking at them to see when they were brown enough to pull them out. He did a beautiful job and they all got cooked in time!

So our little family spent the afternoon together. Bennett joined us for pictures and the egg hunt. And Hallie and Hunter must have hidden his eggs too hard because he gave up pretty quickly and said he would try again the next day (and he found them all today!) We typically do an egg hunt with cousins which is great, but our kids enjoyed the egg hunt we did during covid when every kid had a different color egg and they had a certain number to find. With only 13 eggs a piece, this activity lasted far longer than expected (almost an hour!)

Knowing we were missing dinner with family, our friends dropped off an Easter cookie decorating kit which kept their interest for quite a while. Such a thoughtful gift.

Briggs insisted we recreate the time “when he almost died” in his Easter basket. (He made the same request last year) One of these days, his little bum isn’t going to fit in that bucket but we’ll recreate it until that happens!

Hallie is my picture girl! The boys tend to scatter, but she’ll always humor me and let me take as many pictures as I want. She is a real gem.

It was a special day. We would have loved to have been with extended family, but these family members are the most important people in my life and it was a beautiful day to spend just our little family. We had some beautiful discussions we won’t soon forget.

Easter 2021…

Over the years, Easter for our family has become more than just a Sunday holiday. It starts the week before as we start to recount the events of the Savior’s last week. We talk. We read accounts in the scriptures. We watch uplifting videos. All of it is a beautiful lead into Easter Sunday.

Every few years, when Easter Sunday is the first Sunday of April, we end up having our semi-annual General Conference for our church (where we watch talks and messages from home) and Easter on the same weekend. This year happened to be an Easter Sunday/General Conference combo and it was beautiful. The messages we listened to this morning about Jesus Christ, his resurrection and atoning sacrifice were a beautiful reminder of His love for us and the power we have to change and become the best versions of ourselves. More than anything the messages offered hope for all those with heavy hearts and burdens that seem unbearable.

It was a powerful reminder to continue teaching these kids about Jesus Christ and his love for every single individual. To instill a faith in something so much larger and more powerful than they could ever imagine – a faith that will change their lives if they come to know Him.

Happy Easter!