Easter seems to be Clara's favorite holiday so far (probably because she actually understood what was going on and got really into it). She LOVED easter egg hunts (we did three of them - one on Wednesday morning with a group of mom friends at our weekly get-together, a Saturday morning one at the church, and one in the afternoon on Sunday at Paul's aunt and uncle's house with cousins). And Clara practiced at home too when I would hide eggs around the living room while she counted (seriously, she covers her eyes and counts to 10 with a little help along the way) in the kitchen. Her favorite hiding spot was the handle on the sliding glass door. Eventually she would stick an egg there, cover her own eyes, then open them and shout "'prise!" (which of course is short for "surprise"), then repeat the process over and over.
These pictures are from Saturday morning. The 0-3 crowd went first and were then joined by the 3-6 crowd. The 6-11 year olds had their own separate hunting grounds.
Clara did not care at all about what was in the eggs. Once she saw the lawn area littered with them, she was off and running, picking up eggs as quickly as she could. She reached her limit of 12 lickety-split and kept picking up more so I just kept taking the extras out and put them back in the grass for other kids to find. She didn't mind a bit.
Counting her eggs.
She thought it was pretty awesome that she got to eat M&M's. She would carefully hold her egg open and take them out one by one, saying "mmmm" each time she popped another into her mouth.
I put together easter baskets while Clara was napping and Paul was at the store. Then I took pictures, which might be silly but I wish I could see what the easter baskets my mom made for me as a kid were like. Clara got a paint-with-water book, a story book, big girl silverware from PBK, a plate, bubbles, a sunhat, a new swimsuit, sidewalk chalk, a rubber duck, a chocolate bunny, and assorted eggs filled with jellybeans and M&Ms. I found these awesome larger eggs with cute scenes painted on them at a candy store in Los Gatos and they were perfect for things like her swimsuit and I can use them each year now. Don't they really add to the look of the basket?
One of our traditions is that Paul and I put together easter baskets for each other. Why should kids get all the fun, right? We do the same thing at Christmas with stockings. Anyway, Paul made the most amazing stocking for me this past Christmas so I had to really shine with his easter basket. He got a full-size See's chocolate bunny (in past years I have only done a medium-sized bunny for him and he always hints that a bigger bunny would be even more awesome so he got his wish), a new loofah, a gift card for a professional massage (he has never had one and has always wanted one), a new tie, a book to read with Clara called "Darth Vader and Son" (it is hilarious and awesome and I will have to post some of the pages on here because we have been cracking up when we read it and it would make a good father's day gift for a number of dads I can think of), and assorted candy.
Paul's family grew-up with an easter bunny who hopped through their house leaving a trail of string for them to follow that would lead to their baskets. They are the only family (in addition to Paul's cousins) who I have heard of who do this, but it is a fun tradition. I thought it was fun when I woke up and had to bend and crawl through the string like Ethan Hunt maneuvering through a laser alarm to get to the camera. Clara didn't know what to think at first.
But when we followed the string into her room and told her that the easter bunny had been hopping around her room while she was asleep, she started to think it was pretty hilarious. Although maybe she was just liking this weird new game that we were playing first thing in the morning. She "helped" daddy by holding on to the string while Paul wound it back onto a spool.
That silly rabbit hopped into the bathroom and into the shower. Clara thought that was super funny and was laughing about it.
She sort of spotted her basket early and grabbed the biggest egg out of it (the one that held her swimsuit) and excitedly opened it up. She seemed more impressed with the egg than with the suit.
The basket wasn't exactly hidden very well - just sort of tcked back in a corner. Next year the easter rabbit will have to be sneakier for this girl.
One of the first things she did was pull out her chocolate rabbit and unwrap the ears to have a taste. She was a little miffed when I took it away (after letting her nibble at the ears for a bit) and told her that we had to eat breakfast first.
We were running late for church so this was the best family pic we got and I didn't even take one of Clara in her easter dress by herself. Please notice that there are NO WEEDS! in our backyard! I have been weeding every day for a couple of weeks now (our backyard was out of control since we haven't had anything planted and have just let it do whatever it wanted for so, so long) and we finally finished getting all the weeds out on Saturday afternoon and went and got weed barrier and mulch. It looks SO much better now and we are hoping to get some plants in soon and have at least a quasi-legitimately landscaped backyard. It won't be fancy or anything, but it will be better than a weed-infested eyesore, which is what we had. I will post photos when/if we get the plants in.
After church we went to Rich & Claudia's (Paul's aunt and uncle) house to spend the holiday with cousins. Aunt Lala (Claudia) helped Clara, Grace, and Mia pick flowers, which the girls loved.
Uncle Rich explaining how the egg hunt would work to the older cousins. We love these kids - they are so much fun.
The toddler crowd (Clara at 22 months, Hayden at 18 months, and Joel at 25 months) had their own separate egg hunt in the garden area. It was serious business for Clara and she showed those boys how it was done.
Paul, Kevin and Kyle. Kyle (one of Paul's cousins) and his wife just moved to California from Colorado (via a three-month training stint in Chicago) and we are excited that they are nearby now for holidays like this.
I made bacon-wrapped green bean bundles. They looked pretty and tasted pretty good but I would actually tweak the recipe pretty significantly next time, I think. It called for butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and salt but I actually think there would be a better profile with balsamic vinegar, more soy sauce, less brown sugar (or maybe substitute maple syrup for the sugar), etc. I will have to play with this because conceptually, I loved this as a fancy side dish for a special occasion.
Clara actually sat with all the other kids (there were 9 total) and ate (with me standing beside her) then got down and ran around playing while Paul and I sat with the adults (there were 10 of us) and actually got to converse and laugh and eat with the grown-ups. It was great.
Clara and Gracie watched the first part of Brave before they lost interest and decided to color in coloring books.
There was some playing with balls outside on the lawn before a little rainstorm started and everybody went back inside for dessert.
It was a wonderful weekend. Clara was exhausted by the time we got home around 7:45 and went to bed and was out almost as soon as her head hit the mattress (which was blissful since bedtime has been a little tough the past couple of weeks since she doesn't have a pacifier to soothe her to sleep any more - I may have to blog more about that.)
We dyed eggs too, but I don't have pictures of that because it was just me and Clara (Paul has been working longer hours lately and wasn't able to make it home in time so we just went ahead on our own) and we had a little mishap where Clara managed to procure the green dye tablet and chew it like a candy with neon green drool oozing out of her mouth and our dying fun got cut a little short for a bath because of it. Maybe next Easter.