Older Daughter’s in-laws always so graciously invite husband JP and me to be part of their holidays. And, really, they make us feel part of the family. So we get all the love and support and good times of a big & boisterous family gathering (slightly dampened this year by the background strains of SEC‘s last Final Four hope, Florida, losing to lower-ranked Michigan). Plus, our family membership means we get to enjoy, for example, delectable goodies such as melt-in-your-mouth fresh coconut layer cake, which I never would even consider trying to make myself because I am lazy like that don’t have enough cake pans. And I love being with folks who put up an Easter tree. So we ate and talked and hid & found eggs and learned the card game Three Thirteen, which I played much like Florida did. Luckily another piece of coconut cake made even defeat taste better.
I’m not sure what our (at this point) almost-3-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, was thinking here at his mothers’-day-out Easter program after-party. He’s in the 2-year-old class, which was the youngest group to perform in the annual spring event — and by “perform” I mean “stare bleakly out at the audience and try to get out of his chair numerous times.” He loved singing the oh-so-cute little songs about bunnies and chicks and birds and flowers AT HOME. But, sadly, singing before an adoring audience of Mommy and Daddy and Kacky did not prepare him for singing in front of an impersonal audience of hundreds of strangers who did not jump up and down and hug him in delight after he finished each tune. He stuck it out, however, even as he silently implored his mommy and me with his precious Capt. Adorable eyes to please take him offstage to someplace where there were trucks and trains and other cool things. He actually sing and make the hand motions to one song. Out of about 12, that is. But, still. We thought the party treat of chocolate cupcakes would cheer him up, but it took awhile. Does this photo capture him contemplating revenge? Is he already rehearsing the words his 37-year-old self will tell his therapist: “Oh my gosh, when I was almost 3 my mother and my grandmother forced me on stage and I’ve never been the same since.”? Or perhaps he’s simply eyeing the party plate of the child sitting across from him. Actually, however, I’ve seen this look before. It means “I’m not happy and I want you to know it but I’m not going to go all 2-year-old on you and scream and cry and throw myself on the floor. I just want you to know that I’m extremely not happy. And you will pay.” I first got this look when he was about 9 months old and I put this darling hat and scarf on him one windy winter afternoon. He was not amused. Sort of, you know, like when he’s made to sit on a stage and sing Easter songs.
Hoppy Easter! Hope your day is filled with chocolate and eggs and family and fun. I’m just happy that my two daughters are grownup and in their 20s now and I didn’t have to spend Easter Eve hemming little smocked dresses and desperately trying to concoct matching hair bows. Not that I ever was so unorganized and frazzled that I waited until the last minute to finish Easter dresses. No! Not me!!! Oh, OK. Definitely me. The best thing about Easter, of course, is being with family and friends. (The availability of unlimited chocolate goes without saying.) My family gathered this past weekend to celebrate the joint birthdays of our oldest — my dad, turning 77 — and our youngest — my nephew, turning 1. Photo ops! But with young ‘uns, you never know what you’re going to get. Three-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable is good for about two shots of holding still and saying “cheese,” but then he’s done with you and on to more important things. So I just click away, sort through everything later and hope for the best. Such as this shot of the Captain and his cousin, the Birthday Boy. (We think they’re cousins, at least — the Captain’s mom is the Birthday Boy’s daddy’s niece. Is that right?) It took me a couple of times before I realized that both boys are intently studying the backs of their books. Must be a family trait. And I love the shot with most of my favorite girls in it — daughters and sisters-in-law — and my two absolute favorite little guys. Even though it wasn’t Easter, it was wonderful family time. There even was plenty of chocolate. But, thankfully, no hemming of dresses.
Oh so pretty! I am in love with Target‘s new blue-and-white spring things. Just walking through the store makes me think of sunny days and ditching the boots and wool jackets and planning Easter dinner and those wonderful spring breaks. These blue-and-white prints seem so fresh and clean — as if a warm spring breeze wafted through and banished winter. And, believe me, here in the South we definitely had winter this year. You know we got so used to snow that we sort of shrugged our shoulders whenever it was forecast yet again — and the frantic grocery-store runs dropped dramatically. But it’s time to forget winter. And, you know, looking at these prints makes me realize that we have no blue-and-white in our house. At all. We’ve got black-and-white. And soft greens. And splashes of orange and red. But no blues-and-whites. But I love these so much that I’m thinking “home re-do.” So excuse me while I go tell my husband we’re going to redecorate. He’ll be so pleased.
Post-Easter Monday always is filled with getting rid of leftovers: Eggs, eggshells, assorted mangled chocolate bunnies and those little foil-wrapped solid chocolate eggs that nobody eats. But I hope this spectacular egg centerpiece carved from a watermelon gets to hang around at least another day or so. It was featured at the Easter Sunday buffet at the Manchester-Coffee County (Tennessee) Conference Center, where we gratefully enjoyed ham, prime rib, lamb and all the trimmings after a morning full of rich and inspiring church services. And presents! My brother and sister-in-law, who live on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are some of the best present-givers I know. They gave my mom an Easter basket full of beautiful ready-to-be-transplanted greenery, and I got Blue Smoke coffee beans (http://bluesmokecoffee.com/) and some of the best toffee ever — less like peanut brittle but still fresh and crunchalicious — from local candymakers Scenic City Toffee (http://www.sceniccitytoffee.com/). And the travel French press coffee mugs from Starbucks? An Easter present from me to … me. I’d been eyeing them for days and finally gave in. I always do French press on lazy mornings when all I have to do is sit and sip — which means I do French-press coffee perhaps about twice a month. Maybe being able to indulge on the run will transfer some of that rare peaceful relaxation to my normal daily routine. All I know is that it’ll take lots of experimentation to find out — the things I do for scientific exploration!
Easter is one of those easy family holidays that gives you lots of bang for your buck — if Christmas is the stress-inducing standard then Easter falls somewhere above Valentine’s Day but below birthdays. Well, that’s my opinion today anyway, when I’m a few years past midnight hours of frantically finishing Easter dresses for my two daughters and managing the Easter-morning chaos of baskets and eggs before church. At least the food is still easy, with Easter bake sales everywhere. I found these goodies at the Empty Bowl luncheon this past week sponsored by the Salvation Army Auxiliary in Florence, Alabama. From works-of-art cakes worthy of Easter dinner to peanut-butter fudge for munching as you did more shopping, there was something for everybody. Hope everyone has a stress-free and photo-op-filled Easter weekend, with chocolate bunnies for all!
Welcome to day No. 3 in A Week of Spring. I love Easter candy! Well, not really the candy part — I’ll take a bar of deep rich dark Green and Black’s over a milky chocolate bunny any time — but the oh-so-cute and whimsical spring-time packaging always makes me smile. And who wouldn’t? Fresh Market has an overflowing abundance of Easter candy this year and I can’t help but picture adorable Easter baskets filled with all sorts of sweets and treats. I think it’s the fascination of boxes and wrappings and what-wonderful-things-could-be-inside that’s so intriguing. And I probably have passed that on to my daughters, who are in their 20s but still delight in candy-laden Easter baskets … although they rarely eat it all. Since they’re vegetarians, we’ve banished Peeps but anything with caramel, fudge, peanut butter or vanilla creamy goodness at least gets a nibble. We’ll see if my 1-year-old grandson carries on the family tradition — I’m betting one bite won’t be enough for him! Come back tomorrow for day No. 4 in A Week of Spring.