Okay, they're all my favorite.
Someone on instagram Saturday saw a picture I had posted of all my kids' Easter baskets spread out on our bed, and they commented that they felt like a bad mom. I responded- don't ! I am just overkill on holidays. My mom imparted that to me, and I've carried on the tradition, because really I'm just a big kid at heart. Some moms throw spectacular birthday parties, inviting dozens of kids and picking a theme for everything- the napkins, the cake, the gift bags, etc. I'm not one of them. I mean- I would love to be, but I have just too many kids to pull that off. So we keep birthdays simple, but we do holidays big.
Easter is no exception. Except we like to call it Resurrection Day, which is why it is truly one of my favorite holidays. I love egg decorating, filling baskets, hunting for eggs, I love the pretty dresses and special Easter songs at church, taking communion and hosting a big ham dinner at our home afterwards. I love all those things so much.
But more than that, I love remembering what Jesus did for us two thousand years ago, and how if He didn't rise from the grave, my faith is in vain. I love seeing images of the empty tomb- the empty tomb !! - and I love imagining what Jesus's disciples must have felt that amazing morning so long ago, when they ran to His tomb and found the stone rolled away.
My husband has been to Israel twice, and he said of all the "holy" places they visited, the Garden Tomb was the most meaningful and spiritual experience he had there. He and the group he toured with entered that empty tomb and shared testimonies about what Jesus had done in their lives. They sang hymns and worshiped God, and he said you could feel the presence of God in that simple, empty cave.
And that's what I love the most about Resurrection Day. It's not just about traditions and church and stained glass windows and all that we place so much meaning in sometimes. It's about a simple, empty tomb, and a Man who died for my sins. My sins. And then rose again so I could have eternal life.
End of sermon :)
So yeah, we celebrate big here in honor of that. Some Christians I know choose not to do the whole Easter bunny and eggs and basket thing, because they feel strongly those things take away from the death and resurrection of Jesus. And if you feel that way, I'm all for you. But we love to make a big deal out of Jesus here at the Rice Ranch, and we love to make a big deal out of all the other things too, and so far ten kids have a really good grasp on the true meaning of holidays. And they have fun in the process !
And I cannot- CANNOT - imagine Easter without Peeps. I buy dozens and eat all the ones my kids don't. Which means dozens.
Yay for Peeps.
Kenzie still had not risen in the photo above. She's 21, what can I say.
Lily, on the other hand, was up at the crack of dawn, yelling down the stairs for Daddy and Mama to come get her.
This year she totally understood what hunting for eggs was all about. Cutest thing ever to watch her carrying around a basket almost as big as she is, looking for plastic, hard boiled, and chocolate eggs.
The Easter Bunny hid 23 hard boiled colored eggs (one cracked while boiling), 41 filled plastic eggs, and 220 foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. My grandma always hid those foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, and no Easter is complete without this tradition. We usually find about a dozen of those eggs throughout the house for the rest of the year, which makes this tradition last for months on end. That's entirely planned. Ha.
Abbi is reading the note from The Easter Bunny a.k.a. Peter Cottontail, telling the kids how many eggs he hid. He always leaves a note, and for some reason his handwriting looks eerily similar to Santa's.
Our teenagers are not above egg hunting. They politely leave the obvious eggs for the little kids, while scouring window sills and door frames for the less obvious ones. And they look really cool doing so, if I do say so myself.
Here's a little snippet from our morning. Note: We always wake the kids up by blasting The Easter Song by Keith Green throughout the house. He was a Christian singer back when Sam and I first became Christians in the 80's, and we still love him today. He died in a plane crash with two of his small children when he was at the height of his career, and he was such an awesome example of someone sold out to Jesus. And his upbeat music makes for great egg hunting music :)
After egg hunting Sam left for church to finish preparing his sermon. BTW we celebrated his 48th birthday yesterday, and in spite of a HOST of comments agreeing with me about the depravity of his 'stache, it remains on his face today.
I posted a pic of him yesterday on the blog, and someone commented that he looked like an evil scientist. Tricia, I totally agree. Sam laughed, told me to take down the evidence...and kept his
I took some individual photos of the kids before we left for church. Some turned out great, some look a bit posed, but that's what you get when you have ten minutes to snap seven kids' photos before racing out the door. Mackenzie was the prettiest of all, but she left early to go pick someone up for church, so I didn't get hers :( Above is Caleb, below is Jack...
I'm aware that I look like a tomato on stilts. No mean comments, Uncle Chris.
My handsome sixteen year old, Tyler Kevin...
Equally handsome Jonathan. Abbi took this photo and it turned out better than mine !
Noah Bear, looking too grown up to be 8 years old....
And finally, all of our kids...minus my two oldest married ones and their families.
I took maybe three photos after church. We had a yummy ham dinner, and Sam enjoyed opening gifts and being razzed about his mustache. Little Baby K enjoyed jelly beans...at one point we found him drooling on the fireplace with about a dozen in his mouth...
Last night we had a very special service at church. Jason and his wife Naomi and Josiah and his wife Monique head up our Children's Church. Our middle three - Tyler, Jonathan and Caleb, are their helpers. Every Sunday night they take turns doing Children's Church, and last night they brought it all out into our regular adult service. It was such a fun church service, watching the kids participate and joining in ourselves. I'm so proud of my grown-up kids for having such a heart for God and for kids, and for working so hard to do this ministry every week.
At one point in the service we all learned a memory verse together. Jonathan asked for volunteers, and each child who said the verse right received a "Gospel Buck." The kids collect these over several months, and at the end of that time they get to spend them in the Gospel Bucks Store, which is filled with all kinds of prizes.
Lily now goes to Children's Church since she is three, and she really does participate in so much of it. She follows directions, claps and sings, raises her hand to answer questions (even though her answers are usually lalalala) and enjoys the whole experience immensely.
This video is Lily, volunteering to say a memory verse, and quickly claiming her Gospel Buck afterwards :)
So there you have it...My Big Fat Easter Post. I'd love to hear about your family traditions in the comment section. I loved watching instagram fill up with Easter pictures yesterday...photos of Easter lilies, egg hunts, kids in sweet pastels and family moments. So many ways to celebrate a glorious day.
And here was the prettiest Easter Lily of all....
Happy Monday !!