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Family Easter Traditions

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We celebrated Easter a week early, due to plans we have for Easter weekend.  Easter was the last thing on my mind this year.  Life has been insanely crazy.  Deadlines never seem to end.  My stress level is extremely high.  To be completely honest, I did not start thinking about Easter until 2 days before we celebrated.  However, my children were counting down the days until the received their Easter baskets. They woke up every morning so excited.  Due to stress and chaos in my life, I could not for the life of me figure out why.  

We just happened to go shopping at the outlet mall 2 days before our celebration.  That's when Easter became real for me this year.  I remembered all of our family traditions, and just how special we've made the holiday over the years.  The kiddos excitement rubbed off on me.  My husband was laughing at me.  In only two days I was able to ensure all of our traditions would continue.  We had a fabulous Easter celebration as always.

Our Easter celebration is usually 2 days long.  We celebrate the secular aspect of the holiday on Saturday with Easter baskets, egg hunts, and more.  The religious aspect of the holiday is celebrated on Sunday.  My kiddos don't understand how a holiday and church on Sunday can happen on the same day.  I LOVE that we've separated the two.  The holiday is extended and Easter Sunday is such a special day, whether we're able to attend church or not.  We do not believe in the Easter Bunny at our house, so the kiddos know everything comes from Jason and I.  This year things were a little different due to Jason's work schedule, but they still worked out as we'll celebrate the religious aspect of the holiday this coming weekend.

Easter baskets:
Over the years, Easter baskets have a changed a little, but not that much.  Some years the kiddos receive a bunch of little nonfood items.  Most years they receive a couple big nonfood items.  We've transitioned from necessary items like cups and hats to toys as the kiddos have grown older, but I do try to add at least one necessary item to their baskets each year. This year it was socks.  
Dinomite's 2nd Easter
Easter candy:
I know some families opt out when it comes to Easter candy, but we're not one of those families.  Once the kiddos are about 2 years old, we start putting some candy in their Easter baskets.  I do not give my kiddos candy except when it's Easter, Memorial Day (for the parade), Halloween, and Christmas.  It's a VERY special  treat.  For those with food allergies, I'm make sure they have special treats of their own.  At no other time during the year will you ever find candy in our home, unless you count chocolate chips, which we use for pancakes and other baked goods.
Bulldozer's 1st Easter
Easter eggs:  Every year we do an Easter egg hunt.  Each kiddo has color coded eggs they are to find.  Dinomite's are blue.  Bulldozer's are green.  Princess' are pink.  Sunshine's are purple. When we had foster kiddos we'd have yellow and orange eggs as well.  Most years we end up doing Easter egg hunts inside the house because of the weather.  Jason and I hide them before we go to bed the night before.  The kiddos always love searching for them first thing in the morning.
Princess' 1st Easter
Easter eggs are NOT filled with candy, except for in rare cases.  Over the years I've collected different sized eggs to fit a variety of items.  When the kiddos are little their eggs are usually filled with LEGO duplo pieces, hair accessories, and/or Safari Toob animals.  As they've grown older we've branched out and included LEGO figures and pieces, princess & fairy figures, Hot Wheels Cars, marbles, jewelry, etc.  This year, I decided to put cash in their eggs.  Though it was easier and less expensive, I will admit, it's far more fun to see them open eggs with toys inside.  I am tempted to go back to fun little toys instead. We'll see.

This year's Easter baskets from left to right, top to bottom:  Dinomite's included a Nintendo 2DS video game, small Playmobil set, 2 playmobil figures, 5 pair of socks, one can of gummy tree frogs, a small bag of Hershey's candy coated chocolate treats, Star Burst Jelly Beans, & Hershey's Milk Chocolate Eggs.  Princess' includes one Playmobil set, 3 Playmobil mystery figures, an unbreakable necklace & bracelet, 3 pair of socks, one small bag of Reese's Pieces, Hershey's Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, & Cookies & Cream Eggs, and Star Burst Jelly Beans.  Sunshine's basket includes one large LEGO duplo set, taken out of the box in order to fit in basket,  a baby animal board book, 3 pair of socks, 2 allergy friendly chocolate bars, and 4 packages of allergy friendly fruit snacks.  Bulldozer's Easter basket includes a Nintendo  2DS video game, one tiny LEGO set, an Eye Spy Wand, a LEGO Star Wars Early Reader Book, 5 pair of socks, one small bag of Hershey's candy coated chocolates, and Hershey's Dark Chocolate. Milk Chocolate, and Cookies & Cream eggs.
Easter dress:
Each year the kiddos receive new church outfits for Easter.  The boys receive new ties, pants and matching socks. The girls receive new dresses with hair tie to match.  We also make sure to have our Spring/Summer church shoes purchased before Easter Sunday so they're ready to wear.  It has become tradition over the past few years that I receive a new matching Sunday dress with accessories, and Jason receives a new matching tie with pants and socks as well.  The outfits are not purchased just for Easter.  Usually they're worn several times for adoptions, celebrations, etc.  The new Sunday apparel debut always occurs Easter Sunday though.  (When I get a chance to capture a picture of Jason and I together with out new outfits I'll be sure to share.)  This year I was super excited about going with a nautical theme.  Gymboree Outlet had an amazing sale when I purchased these outfits. Everything in the store was $12.99 and under.  The girls' Easter dresses would have been $40.00 if purchased at their regular price.  You can't tell from the picture but the boys' ties and socks have anchors on them.  
Easter Meals:
Years ago before autism, food allergies, foster care, Reactive Attachment Disorder, PTSD, and other disorders entered our lives, I used to host a BIG Easter Dinner for my extended family as part of our secular Easter celebration on the Saturday before Easter.  All of my siblings came with their significant others and children.  This hasn't happened since Princess was an infant.  Perhaps someday it will again, we'll just have to wait and see when and if the kiddos can handle it and a few other circumstances change.

Until then, each year I make a large Easter brunch.  Each of the kiddos pick a favorite breakfast item for me to include in the meal.  Items vary from year to year, but it's always delicious.  I purchase a bouquet of flowers for our centerpiece, bring out my Easter table clothe & napkins, and set the table according to the needs of those that will be eating.  Sometimes we've used paper plates, especially when we've had a lot of foster children with us.  Other years we've used our nice dishes.  For those who don't know me well, I LOVE entertaining.  The one and only thing I collect is tableware.  This includes table clothes, fabric napkins, dinnerware, glassware, etc.  Holidays are my excuse for using all of my favorite things.
Our Easter tables throughout the years.
Religious Traditions:
In the weeks leading up to Easter, we read a children's version of The New Testament as a family.  This always invites the spirit of the holiday into our home in the most appropriate way.  Usually we read scriptures as a family at dinner time.  (This is one time during the day we can guarantee that the kiddos are sitting and willing to listen.)  I also try to put together a Easter related activities for the kiddos that are introduced on family night in our home and used during the week.

It used to be the case that Easter Sunday was one of the busiest Sundays of the year for me. I was conducting the choir for our church Easter program and/or singing in the program.  These Easter Sundays were my very favorites.  Unfortunately, since Princess' arrival and multiple special needs among the kiddos, I am no longer able to participate in these special programs.

Instead, we attempt church on Easter Sundays, but on more than one occasion it hasn't been possible.  If we are at home, we make sure to make the day super special by listening to hymns, singing, and watching movies centered around Christ.  One of my favorite movies to watch on Easter is called The Lamb of God.  It is a great depiction of the last week of the Savior's life.  I will warn you, it is a very emotional film to watch.  The younger kiddos prefer the movie, The Testaments instead.
Sunshine ready for her Easter brunch.
Our holiday is simple, but it has left a lasting impression on our kiddos.  They understand the fun that can be had during the holiday, but they also understand the sacredness of the event.  I am so looking forward to Easter Sunday, a day when I can reflect on my Savior's atoning sacrifice for me and that He lives!

1 comment:

  1. Love the outfits they looked great. Glad you had a good time