Saturday, April 23, 2011

All Other Easter Stuff

After the baskets post, I realized I do not want to be posting Easter stuff after Easter! So I'm throwing it all in hodge-podge into one great post.

First of all, look at this. Family Style has posted their Top 10 Easter crafts. I admire, but am not likely to ever do, most of them. But the Paint Chip Easter Garland stopped me in my tracks and I can't get over its loveliness and simple genius. I have got to make one next year! Who's with me?

And do you know this book? We don't have a lot of Easter books but I'm glad we have this one - yes, it's about bunnies and eggs but with a Christian moral, and even a parallel to the Savior if you choose to find it. The author/illustrator, Jan Brett, has great coloring pages here. And if you're looking for an overtly religious Easter book, The Story of Easter by Aileen Fisher is my favorite. It describes Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, then moves on to explain the origins of other springtime rituals and their connection to the biblical traditions, which so often seem completely disconnected. Basic facts about the history of Easter, Passover, the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs, and other forms of religious and secular symbolism are conveyed.

"Grandma Marsha" (Ed's Mom) has been in town all week and one of her favorite things to do is dye eggs. I can't even remember if we colored eggs last year. I would have been 8 1/2 months pregnant so who knows? But this year we did it up proper, with scotch tape, crayons and stickers for effects. I've tried rubber bands and they just slip off. I've also tried oil to make it swirly but it just made them oily. Again, Family Style has some oh-so-chic dying techniques, but I like the basics and I'm sticking to them.
I forgot how much I love doing eggs until we sat down to do them! I don't have a deep artistic streak, but I love making designs with crayons, and partial-dipping different parts of one egg for a multi-color effect. I boiled a dozen but we finished them up in minutes so I did another dozen and put eggs on my shopping list.Thursday we met some friends at a park for a very informal egg hunt. It was just the right kind of park, set back from the road and a big field with trees & shrubs and fenced in on three sides. Everyone brought a dozen filled eggs and the moms hid them while the kids played. Then they hunted and played some more. Then everyone ate their own picnic lunches and went home. This is the perfect kind of Easter activity for me and my family - minimal, shared preparation, minimal effort/stress/commitment, and fun for all kids. Unless one has an eye infection and has to miss the actual hunt to be at a doctor's appointment, where they also discover she is one shot short on her immunes so they just stick it to her while she's there. Poor Ginger.

Yesterday we attended the annual Chik-Fil-A Egg Hunt at Fairfax High School. It was a cold day but well-organized. We arrived early to play on the free inflatables until it was the girls' age groups' time to hunt. "Hunt" is a loose term for this activity. They rope off a big section of the football field and spread out filled eggs. Then they count down and kids in the given age group (2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9) rush the field and grab as many as they can. I watched the 2-3 yr old "hunt" first to see how it works. Parents filled the field with their kids, either helping to gather or taking pictures, and it was a zoo. But for the next age groups the announcer said for parents to stay off the field and let the kids do the hunting.I thought that sounded great, so the kids would have more room and everyone could get some eggs. Ginger is a very, very, sensitive kid, and I saw disaster looming but no way to avoid it. I explained that there were going to be a lot of kids out there, so I hoped she could get at least 2 or 3 eggs, estimating that should be a safe goal. She scoffed and I knew it was going to be ugly.

"5-4-3-2-1..."It wasn't as bad as it could have been. But it could have been a lot better. I took this shot, then lost track of her in the hoards of PARENTS storming the field. They rushed in and quickly blocked out all the kids trying to make it toward the center of the field. I turned to the Mom next to me (we had been chatting - she had the yellow-slicker-clad triplets in the picture) and cried, "Why are parents on the field?!"

"Oh, it happens every year. They go in to help their kids get the most eggs." I wanted to go in and rip someone's head off. Another Mom nearby said, "I guess I understand if they have an autistic kid who needs help, but I have a hard time believing there are that many kids with special needs out there." Amen. I was TICKED, and even more so when a hunched and sobbing Ginger returned to me, four eggs in basket. Knowing nothing would help, I cheered anyway at her great success of getting even more than I expected. I got screamed at and hit on my shoulder for my trouble. So we sat on the ground and cried and hugged, and I wondered, like I do ten times a day, "How can I help this girl?" (But all that is another post.)

Hazel's hunt was a bit more successful. Fewer parents rushed in, and having watched two hunts, I gave her a strategy - skip the outliers, everyone goes for them, and run straight to the middle where the concentration is greatest and before others get there. She did it like a champ and came out with nine eggs and a grin.
Since it was cold outside, we finished the morning with lunch at the nearby Chik-Fil-A that also has a rockin' play area. Ginger fell asleep on the way home.

If you have a moment, I direct you to my cousin Katy's post about their Easter week preparations. I find their plans thoughtful, reverent, and meaningful, and while I missed the boat on meaningful traditions this year for us, it gives me food for thought for future years, and pause to remember the Savior Jesus Christ's glorious resurrection. I am especially taken with the powering down idea, both as a symbol and as a peaceful-family-bonding tool. Unfortunately we are such slaves to Ed's job...I don't know, I wonder if there's a way we could do it... (obviously not this year since I am blogging on Saturday!)

And finally, here's the view out of our second story window this month. This gorgeous magnolia tree brings us huge purple blossoms in spring and shades most of our back deck all summer. It makes me happy, especially with my neighbor's birdhouse.

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