The Easter Walk, Wabbits & the Ham

Did Easter completely sneak up on us this year? Perhaps it was because we were out of town for Spring Break and by the time we returned, we only had one week before the holiday. I deemed this not enough time to drag out our Easter decorations so our house was sadly bunny-less.

Wabbit-hater Elmer Fudd Jamie said it was our best Easter ever.

We weren’t in town for any of our community Easter egg hunts but we still had a grand old time that started with a fun “egging” in our neighborhood. On Thursday, we discovered an empty Easter egg basket on our doorstep with a cute poem to find 12 candy-filled eggs hidden on our lawn. We were then to return the favor to another neighbor and keep the chain going.

So that night after dark, we covertly planted the eggs, rang the doorbell and RAN.
Basically, it’s the coolest egging ever.

Trust me, my car was egged in high school (by a boy who allegedly had a crush on me) while I was still in it. This is a much better alternative.

On Easter morning, the kids got a haul of candy, craft supplies (Hadley), goodies for Mario Party 9 (Bode) and strawberry cream cheese crepes for breakfast.

Then there were the requisite pictures in our Sunday best. Usually our photo shoot is the most painful part of the day but all I took were these four photos because 1) they were darn cute and 2) I’ve given up the hope that Bode will ever smile normally in pictures.
And Easter dinner? Uncle Chris smoked a ham all day long (with apricot-honey sauce), and we devoured funeral potatoes, homemade Challah bread, strawberry salad and the kids’ cake batter truffles.

Is this where I make a bad joke about Jamie being a “ham?”

But hands down, my favorite part of the day was our new Easter tradition: the Easter Walk. Based on the bookby Deborah Pace Rowley (which I need to buy), this “Treasure Hunt for the real meaning of Easter” is a beautiful way for kids to discover the symbolism of Christ’s resurrection in our every day world with six clues and accompanying scriptures.

(The boys reading the clue.)

Clue 1: Mark 15:17 – Something pointed and sharp to represent the crown of thorns.

Clue 2: John 19:17-18 – Something made of wood to represent the cross.

Clue 3: Luke 23:46 – Something dead to represent the Savior’s death.

Clue 4: Luke 23: 44-45, 3 Nephi 8:23 – Something dark to represent the darkness in Jerusalem and in America.

Clue 5: Mark 15:46 – Something hard and round to represent the stone placed in front of the tomb.

Clue 6: Matthew 28:5-6 – Something alive to represent that Jesus Christ is alive again.

Our family went to Majestic View Park and the views (and entire experience) were, indeed majestic.

One of my new favorite pictures:
The kids enjoyed themselves but I especially loved doing the Easter Walk with the Young Women. Usually giggly and chatty (they are teenagers), I loved watching them reflectively stroll around the beautiful grove behind our church.
When we came back together, they shared what they had collected and I was astounded and humbled at just how insightful and good they are, and what a privilege it is for me to teach and be taught by them each week.

Basically, this was one of my favorite Easters ever.

Even without the wabbits.

And the first shall be last

For my column in The Denver Post today, I wrote about our failed Easter egg hunt last year.

Or rather, my parenting fail.

I submitted my article to my editor a few weeks ago and then the media erupted last week with the Easter egg hunt that was canceled in Colorado Springs because of aggressive parents. People everywhere were lashing out against “helicopter parents” (those who hover over and push their kids too much).

My article had “backlash” waiting to happen. I fretted over it a few days before emailing my editor whilst on vacation last week with a revised piece that hopefully would subdue my critics.

So far, no hate mail.

But it’s still early in the day.


The Easter That Wasn’t

As for the belated Easter update, welp, I acquired a cold on Saturday, Jamie had a killer rheumatism attack and Haddie got the stomach flu.

It’s a wonder I’m even alive, much less updating this blog.

Oh, and for anyone keeping track of how many times I’ve been sick this year, don’t bother. I’ve stopped counting.

Our normal Easter celebrations were downsized. We had a simple egg hunt in the morning, smoked brisket for dinner and gorged on Haddie’s bunny cake for dessert (this was her first attempt at making and decorating it by herself). There was no church or cute Easter outfits, just moping around by the parents.

And chocolate. A whole lotta chocolate.

Fortunately we had already done a lot of revelries the week prior that included Easter cookie decorating.
Disclaimer: Don’t ask me how the kids convinced me dolphins should be included in the mix. But think of how much more interesting it would be if a marine mammal somehow delivered Easter spoils instead of a bunny.

We also decorated eggs with Aunt Lisa.

And The Great Pumpkin, of course, made an appearance.

We’ve already shown this is a year-round obsession.
Tune in tomorrow for additional evidence.

The Hunt for the Golden Egg & A Mother’s Shame

My family has been attending our city’s Easter Egg Hunt since my children were toddlers. The Hunt has always been eventful. There was the year when Hadley thought the eggs were balls and launched them in the air.

Oh, and I can’t forget when the organizers setup the course around the playground and Haddie preferred to play on the slide.

Or the time they passed over the eggs and ran in circles.

And then there was last year’s communist society Easter Egg Hunt where each child was only allowed to retrieve five eggs.
But this was our year. There were no quotas, the eggs were scattered on an open field and at ages 6 and 4 respectively, Hadley and Bode are in their prime. My competitive husband Jamie coached them to the point they were getting so riled up that I chastised him to chill out.

We ran into our friend Andrew from church whose toddler was in possession of the elusive Golden Egg that contains a special prize. Every year, there is just one of them placed in The Hunt for each age group and I was curious as to how they scored it.

“We were on the far side of the field when we saw the Golden Egg,” Andrew divulged, “It was sitting next to a 10-year-old boy who looked like he was going to swipe it but we snagged it first.”

Good thing, too. Andrew is an attorney and that kid could have faced repercussions.

When Bode was up to bat with his fellow 4 and 5 year olds, our little thoroughbred was the first off the starting block and snagged an impressive haul of eggs.

Next, it was Haddie’s turn (and this is where it gets ugly).

She was with some older kids–up to age 8– but I knew she would do well. She’s competitive like her dad and most importantly, she’s fast. She lined up and waited for the good word.

Then a lady came up to me and I blame her for my demise. “Do you see it out there?” she hissed. “The Golden Egg is directly in front of you at the other end. If your little girl runs straight, she will grab it.”

The rest is a blur. I spotted the Golden Egg glimmering in the sun and I showed Jack…err Hadley how to navigate the beanstalk to get it. Somewhere in the mix, the signal was given and kids raced to the field. Frantic at missing the start, I gave her a gentle push in the direction of our family’s future.

Only it wasn’t so gentle. Much to my horror, it was a full-blown shove and Hadley landed face-first on the grass.

“That’s OK, that’s OK!” I picked her up and sent her off but by then it was too late. The Golden Egg was clutched from its rightful owners (us) and Haddie only had a half-full basket of eggs to show for her efforts.

And a killer glare aimed right at me.

Next year, I’ll leave The Easter Egg Hunt coaching up to Jamie.

(Originally published at MILEHIGHMAMAS.COM.

Easter Egg Hunts in a Communist Society

A Johnson family tradition is to duke it out every year at the community Easter egg hunt.

It’s been a long road. When our daughter Hadley was little, she mistook the eggs as “pretty balls” and hucked them in the air. Then there was the year we couldn’t drag her off the playground equipment. Another Easter, both kids simply raced past all the eggs and ran in circles.

Now that my children are 3 and 5, this was OUR year. They finally understand that inside those cheap plastic eggs are candy and toys.

Glorious treats that Mom and Dad did not have to stuff.

There was still a lot of snow and muck on the ground. Being the good mother I am, I had outfitted them in clothing befitting of a polar bear club/mud-wrestling competition.

I am nothing if not prepared.

But the organizers surprised us all and moved the Easter egg hunt into the adjacent recreation center. Instead of setting the children loose at the same time, we were admitted into the arena in waves. Bode had the advantage and was among the eldest in the 0-3 age group, as was Hadley in the 4-5.

Remember that I mentioned it was our year?

The children chomped at the bit as they waited at the starting line like thoroughbreds at a race track. A volunteer explained the rules.

“When the whistle blows, you may run into the arena. Your children are allowed five eggs a piece.”

Five eggs a piece? What’re we: a communist society?

When the whistle blew, all the children tore off the starting line. There were hundreds, if not over a thousand eggs for each age group. It was obvious that the five-egg limit would not be an issue as pretty much every child I saw greedily walked away with baskets spilling over with eggs.

I, on the other hand, got nothing. You see, the volunteer had also made sure to emphasize that parents were not allowed to pick up eggs. I didn’t murmur about the ban on parental involvement because I figured it was aimed at me.

In my defense, I was *this* close to finding the golden egg in previous years.