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.
Just before we were ready to go hunt Easter eggs, the kids were running around the house with their Easter buckets.
While holding his bucket, Briggs started recounting a time he almost died. He was talking about his Easter bucket. He was making a silly face – he was so animated recounting this story. (I thought maybe it was related to Easter because we had spent the morning talking about Jesus dying.)
We were all a little confused.
But he insisted and told the story again of the time he almost died. This time he actually sat in his Easter bucket and tilted his head back a little and made the face again.
We finally realize, he’s describing a picture he’s seen of himself sitting in his Easter bucket just weeks after he was born – for some reason, he looks at the picture and thinks he was in danger of death! 🙂
We all about died laughing. I’m not sure when he saw this photo last but he was doing a pretty funny impression.
I think this is last year he’ll fit in that bucket!
I’m sure everyone across the country could say something similar but Easter looked a little different this year but we loved it still the same. Our traditional “bunny” showed up on Saturday right on schedule. In case you were wondering – yes, they received two flavors of peeps, sour watermelon and root beer float.
Sunday morning we were surprised to find another bunny had made a visit. Bennett was the first to point out he knew it didn’t come from us (parents) because there is no way we would give them that much candy. He was absolutely correct. The walkway leading up to our doorstep was littered with candy as well – so much candy! It didn’t take them long for the kids to guess who would do such a thing. We are grateful for wonderful and thoughtful neighbors who know how to make a kid’s day.
The kids came running out the front door collecting all they could fit in their arms – the Easter pinata! I couldn’t not capture each kid with a stash. They were only mildly disappointed when they learned we would only be keeping a portion and then passing some off to other families who would enjoy it!
We had an elaborate crepe bar. Steve mastered what he dubbed the “fully loaded” crepe and the kids waited patiently while he loaded up their crepes. Vanilla crepe filling, strawberries and bananas, topped with whipped cream, nutella, powdered sugar, strawberries, bananas and peanut butter drizzle. I call it the sugar coma. Who needs Easter candy when you can have breakfast!!
We had a beautiful home church service with Hallie and Hunter sharing talks and Bennett singing “Gethsemane” for our musical number and a little Easter symbolism activity. We talked of Jesus Christ and played music throughout the day to foster that special spirit we had in our little church meeting. It was probably my favorite Easter church yet. Simple. Powerful. It was a beautiful day – but unlike any Easter we’ve ever had. (And Steve was with us the whole day which was probably the biggest treat for us all.)
In the afternoon we prepped and ate a special ham dinner and then let the kids start their Easter egg hunt.
We typically spend Easter with Steve’s family hosted at his brother’s house. It’s always such a special day and we always look forward to it. But life is different right now and everything we expected life to be at this point has been thrown out the window. Like everyone else, we continue to adapt and roll with it. But if I’m being honest, leaving traditions on the table is a little hard for me. I love them. I love doing the same thing year after year. I love when my kids talk about the traditions they look forward to. Easter is no different.
A few days before Easter as I was outlining the day and making a plan for food and activities the thought of an egg hunt wasn’t high on my list. We always do it with cousins and even then it’s not necessarily my favorite part of the day. Kids whine because so-and-so got more eggs or being disappointed because somebody else found the money egg from Nana and Papa.
I knew my kids would want an egg hunt so an idea came to my mind and I started running with it. Every kid would have a certain egg color and they would all have the same amount to find. But the catch would be the eggs would be hidden in different front yards (with permission) around our evening walk route.
The kids didn’t know this. They started looking for eggs in our front yard and they weren’t finding very many. By the time most of the kids had found 3 eggs we told them there was only 3 eggs to find…in our yard. We started walking our route and they were casually looking to see if they could see any. Once one kid spotted an egg in someone’s yard they would all run in the front yard looking for their eggs. We ended up telling them how many were in each yard – either 2 or 3 eggs.
I can’t tell you how much fun this was! They were hidden based on age so Hallie and Hunter and even Bennett had some hard ones to find. Hunter had one so hard to find, we never found it! And isn’t it always the case that everyone can see your egg hiding in plain sight but you?! A few times we had to play hot and cold in order to find some. Steve even narrowed down areas to help the older kids find a few hard ones.
There was excitement. There was laughing. There was frustration. Everything you want in a good egg hunt. Our typical 4 minute egg hunt lasted two hours and each kid only needed to find 16 eggs – eggs they all helped to fill with candy from our doorstep earlier in the day.
It was just the right ending to our day. A day typically steep in tradition looked totally different and yet felt wonderful all the same. The kids are convinced this egg hunt needs to be the new tradition and I think I agree. That’s the funny thing about traditions I suppose; they are wonderful and fantastic until you introduce a new idea and suddenly we’re okay with old traditions changing.
We love our family and missed them dearly on this day – we long for days when we can gather with them again. Happy Easter – He is risen!
Here’s a breakdown of Easter (which just so happened to be one of the busiest weekends we’ve had in a long while).
Easter baskets showed up Saturday morning, right on schedule! New summer hats and flip flops graced their baskets.
Bennett turns 8 this week and Easter was the first time he wore a suit to church. I was a little surprised with just how excited he was – and just how old he looks when he’s wearing it!
We spent the afternoon with family. It is surprising how close we live to family, and how little time we actually spend together. We live seemingly separate lives that cross every so often at sporting events or when family comes to town. So holidays like Easter are a nice treat to sit around and talk and joke and play. And although there are a lot of family members, our numbers keeping getting smaller as more and more leave the nest – these group photos used to be much more crowded! 🙂 5 grandkids on missions, 7 grandkids married (and only one lives locally) and many more away at school.
The group of kids hunting eggs is the smallest it’s ever been. Briggs didn’t seem too brokenhearted about that fact.
The kids didn’t have school on Good Friday, which meant Steve planned a master breakfast and we sat around discussing the holy week and the importance of Good Friday – and answering the kids questions as to why it’s called Good Friday when it was really the darkest day. I think we were both pleasantly surprised with how well the kids participated and how long they stayed engaged. After a while we cleaned up the kitchen and the kids started to disperse. Steve and I were reveling in our ideal lazy family morning.
And then we received a tragic phone call. Our neighbor/friend had just passed away while on a work trip and his wife was unconsolable next door. Steve and I dropped everything. When we walked in that door, we had no idea what we would face. Suddenly the phrase, “Mourn with those that mourn” took on a whole new meaning for me and I saw a depth of pain I had never witnessed before.
Its hard to describe the emotions of my mind and heart on that blurry day but I remember a couple things that kept coming to my mind: the thought of Good Friday, the discussion we had just had with our kids just minutes earlier and my very favorite Easter quote I posted last week.
Our poor friend experienced her darkest Friday and it was almost unbearable to watch. We spent the weekend mourning with her and at the same time celebrating our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his resurrection – the day that changed everything. The day my faith and hope is built on.
Today at church, I listened to a children’s choir perform I Know That My Redeemer Lives. It brought me to tears as I thought about our neighbor and several close friends who are mourning a loss right now and what the resurrection means to them as they cling to the hope of seeing their loved ones again.
What struck me is how many times it says HE LIVES. He lives for each one of us.
My favorite line is at the end of the last verse, “Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives, who once was dead. He lives, my ever-living Head. He lives to bless me with his love. He lives to plead for me above. He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need. He lives to grant me rich supply. He lives to guide me with his eye. He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul’s complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart. He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend. He lives and loves me to the end. He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing. He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King. He lives and grants me daily breath. He lives, and I shall conquer death. He lives my mansion to prepare. He lives to bring me safely there. He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”