This year was the first year that Princess was actively involved and excited for Easter. So naturally I began seriously contemplating what kind of traditions we want to have in our family and how we were going to focus on the real meaning of Easter, and how to really help her comprehend such difficult, spiritual concepts that comprise that first Easter weekend.
I must send out a big thanks to my sisters, Maryle & Rachael for their influence. Maryle had mentioned to me how they were going to split up Easter; doing all the secular, Easter Bunny activities on Saturday, and focusing on the Savior on Sunday. I knew immediately that that was exactly what I wanted our family to do as well. I must say I REALLY like it that way. It spread out the holiday, caused for less stress, eliminated the sugar buzz right before church, and provided us with a nice, relaxed, Sunday morning that we were able to focus on the Savior.
We started out Friday evening with the coloring of the eggs. It was our turn to babysit that Friday, so Princess M had one of her best friends there to color eggs with her. They did a really great job!
The Easter Bunny honored Mama's wishes and visited our home Friday night. Princess M woke up Saturday morning to find filled Easter baskets, our eggs hidden around the house, and in their place in the basket a special Easter Bunny treat.
We lounged around the morning, enjoyed the toys, candy & egg hunt, and when we eventually got dressed, I did the girls hair in fun secular styles. I really liked how M's Easter egg hairdo turned out.
That night before bed we began switching the focus with the preparation of Easter cookies, the recipe of which was given to me by Rachael. Each step of the cookie preparation is related back to the events of the betrayal, Crucifixion, & resurrection of the Savior; including "sealing" the cookies in the "tomb" of the oven overnight to find hollow, empty cookies in the morning.
Sunday morning we were able to take our time getting ready for church in new Easter dresses & bows I made for the girls and then have another egg hunt. This time for 12 plastic numbered eggs that each held a scripture and visual token representing the events of that first Easter. (once again, Thank you Rachael) M loved it, and would continually reopen each egg and ask me to explain again what each item represented. I think her favorites were the thorns, 3 pieces of silver, and the empty egg representing the empty tomb. Today, a week later, she rehearsed to me (without any prompting) how the "bad guys gave money for Jesus, he died for us, and was alive again." It made me feel warm inside that she still remembered the most important parts of the Easter story.
Alex and I were blessed to have been asked to speak in Sacrament on the Atonement and Resurrection. It was a very nice, compelling reason to study deeper those topics that weekend, which I think really added to the season, for me anyway. I don't know if anyone else got anything out of my talk, but I know I learned quite a bit.
After church, we were blessed to share a wonderful Easter dinner with all our family here in town. It was a true feast with spice injected turkey, caramelized ham, a surprisingly great meatloaf, Aunt Sue's fabulous rolls, a butter lamb, and several other fantastic sides. I'm grateful to be living close to family again, so we can share such fun times together.
It was a fantastic Easter with many traditions I'm sure we'll be keeping each year hereafter.