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Mia Elizardi

Mia Elizardi has written 35 posts for Mia's Playground

Don’t f*ck with me. Passing on a legacy. Preparing for pre-preschool and life.

I wrote this on 6/21/12, after I had been offered a new job, which I accepted and started in October. On this day, it became very real that I would have to send Sofie away to school/daycare at some point very soon and overwhelmed by this, I sat and cried and prayed and wrote this. I didn’t publish it because it seemed crazy to write a letter like this for a hypothetical situation. Some might accuse me of being…dramatic!

Today, I publish this piece because our Sofie starts a new toddler program on Monday!!! And, so here goes…

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I am preparing, in my mind, for when I send my daughter (my first born, my mothers name sake, my heart and soul, my little mirror, my perfect angel baby) to school or daycare for the first time. All the things I want to tell her come flooding through me and manifest as tears and a tight throat.

Baby girl, mommy loves you. I am always here for you. I will fight your fights with you, by your side. No matter how big or small. Did another kid take your toy? Did the teacher ask you to be quiet again (this is inevitable, you are my child, this is your legacy to be chatty and “social”…these are your gifts, not deficits or problems to be solved. We will talk more about that later.)? Did you forget your lunch or get teased for what you have for lunch? Whatever it is, I am by your side figuring it out WITH you. I am on your team.

Be brave in all you do. Have fun. Play with ALL the toys and ALL the kids. Be kind. Say thank you and please and excuse me. Take turns and share. You know how you love to give me a bite of everything you are eating. I love that about you! And your teachers might not want you to do that. Its ok. You are still the most generous child I have ever known.

These things I know you will excel at and be your true awesome self. You were born to be awesome. And I know you are going to love school and I know your classmates and teachers will love you and appreciate you too.

Stand up for yourself. This is the hardest lesson for me to prepare you for. Mommy wants to be there to protect you always from skinned knees and hurt feelings and everything else…and yet that wouldn’t be fair to you. You are capable of standing up for yourself and of protecting yourself. You are capable of so many things.

If someone hurts you or scares you or isn’t fair or makes you feel less than in any way, stand up for yourself. Use your words. Be kind and compassionate. Listen. Be direct and forth write. Speak the truth. It will set you free.

The truth will always set you free, baby.

And if you are still not being heard and respected, you tell them what my mommy told me when I was a little girl and felt powerless, you tell them, “*Don’t f*ck with me.” To anyone, at any time. And I will have your back. No questions asked. I have your back. No matter what. I trust you and if your boundaries are crossed and you say these words, I trust that you needed it and I will stand by you and fight your battle WITH you. Mommy is on your team.

(*True story, I will never forget that day or that lesson that my mom told me that I could say those words, even to the priests at my parochial school. I was shocked and forever armed.)

But mostly, I want you to know that you are allowed to feel these words, to know that you deserve to be respected, heard, that you are armed with these words and what they represent. And that you have me, by your side and at your back, equally armed with these words, because my mommy armed me with these words too. We are brave and tough and strong.

Now, make sure you eat breakfast, brush your teeth and hair, have your lunch, listen to directions, play, learn, make friends, and have fun, baby! That is what life is all about.

 

Today’s tragic theater shootings in Aurora

I am a mother now. I am changed. I will never again be able to hear news like a movie theater shooting or any other tragedy big or small, local or not, and have the reaction I did before I had a child. I am a mother now. And now I feel this kind of news differently now. Viscerally. Emotionally. Every child that is hurt, I imagine is my own. Every mother who sits my her wounded child is me. Every mother of every gunman is me. I feel the pain of every mother connected to this story. It is my story too. I am connected to these people and it affects me too.

Today, my husband and I woke up to get our toddler out of bed with her half cheerful, have cranky calls to come get her. After a fast game of “not it” (not because we don’t want to be the first to greet our child, but because our daughter is a morning pooper and the first greeter also gets diaper surprise duty. Pun intended. Sorry for this detail, Doodle bug. Hopefully you will never read this or be to old to care by the time you do), my husband glanced at his phone as he usually does and his face goes a little pale and his expression bleak. 14 dead in a Colorado theater shooting.

All day, I have been tearful. Emotional. Feeling the trauma as my own. As if I were there. To make matters worse, my husband bought his ticket to see the Dark Knight two weeks ago and has been doing daily happy dances about it in anticipation. And the thought of him in that theater…well, its too much to bear and it brings me to tears as I write. Fear, anger, grieve wraps around my throat. I am sure you know the feeling.

From what I understand, the youngest killed was 6 years old and the youngest wounded was 3 months old in addition to a pregnant woman. And the mother of this shooter, who was a PhD student at UCD in neuroscience, who was preparing for her child to be a brain surgeon, is now grieving the loss of his humanity and his participation in society. And is now grappling with him being the most hated man in Colorado, perhaps America, for his unthinkable senseless violence against innocent people.

I don’t know his story. Or his family’s story. In a way, I don’t need to know. What is done is done. (Colorado has seen a similar kind of tragedy at Columbine high school in 1999, my high school graduating year. I was too young and too self involved to care or understand or care to try to understand. Coloradans are strong and will raise above and heal.)

But today, today I am a mother. And today I am grieving with James Holmes’ mother. For her. As a fellow mother. And I am grieving with all the other mothers touched by todays horrible, unthinkable, violation and violence. In solidarity.

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A great piece by Lisa Belkin in the Huffington Post, The Aurora Shooting: Any of Our Children Could Have been at the Movies Last Night. 

Little Red Couch

Little Red CouchWe bought a little red couch this weekend at an Estate Sale! It was kind of sad actually. I think an elderly woman had passed away. Everything was being sold. Cars, house, and every single item in her house. I felt like a pillager walking through without permission or in a riot. There were a lot of people there.

We walked through each room. Closets open, drawers open. Stickers with numbers sharpie’d onto them on every single thing in that house. It felt hallow and abandoned.

We walked us stairs and then I saw her. Buried under a pile of linens and pillows. The little red couch. You didn’t think I meant…no, come on.

*I have a strange habit of personifying things, mostly clothes, by referring to them as ‘her’. Picked it up from a friend when we were teenagers and it seemed super cool then. It stuck.*

She was beautiful. Little, red and has a pull out single bed. She was a little worn looking. But I knew right away I could shine her up like a new penny.

Thanks to Pinterest for your endless relevant information and this little ditty. Who knew you can use hydrogen peroxide on unidentified stains and spots and it will lift them out. I knew it would take blood stains out and whiten your teeth and kill unwanted germs and bacteria and whiten laundry, but a couch stain. I bow down to you, Hydrogen Peroxide.

Anyway, I love, love, love the idea of a pre-owned couch anytime, but at this stage of our lives, especially. I love to recycle, reuse and repurpose. I love not spending full price. (I have been swooning over a similar couch for years that retails for over $1000. ) I love knowing that when my dog tries to sleep on my new little red couch whilst muddy or my toddler decides to wipe her blueberrie’d face on it, that I wont freek out. Its used and I have the power of Hydrogen Peroxide on my side.

So, thank you to little red couch and welcome to our family. You were as longed for as our child and just as much as a pleasant surprise when you graced our lives.

 

Tomorrow’s Intentions

I wrote this down after Sofie went to bed one night. Feeling tired. Frazzled. Having no memory of what we did that day if anything at all. Trying too hard to do too much, too little, the wrong things or nothing or not enough. Honestly, I can’t remember. It’s been a really long day.

So, I decided to get organized and write out what I wanted my day to look like tomorrow.

slow down – sit on the floor – pull out puzzles and toys – play – read books – slowly, add narrative and ask what she thinks – wait for her to respond – make animal sounds – say the alphabet – then sing it – say words, repeat – invite her to say words – snuggle her before naps and after naps and all the time – color with crayons – bounce a ball – pull toys out of the blue bucket – laugh – tickle – kiss – hug – play music – have a dance party

I’m laughing at myself now looking at this list. Sometimes this is what my to do list looks like as a mommy. Sometimes it’s just this simple. And hard.

It’s the simplest stuff that’s the hardest, actually. I mean who writes a to do list that includes “play” because I felt too frazzled to remember to do it? I do. I suppose.

Happy Hour, Part 1: MangoRita

MangoRita

My Mango Margaritas…and my idea of a perfect stay-cation!

Happy birthday, America!

We had a glorious long week together as a family to celebrate America’s birthday with a trendy stay-cation. We stayed put at home to enjoy the sun, the pool, eachother company and some yummy concotions. First up…a mango margarita.

I have an obsession with mangos. I love the flavor. I love mango gelato especially. I love mango netcar and fresh mango salsa and mango smoothies and mango popsicles. I spent an entire summer studying abroad searching from near and far of each town I visited for mango gelato (also delicious paired with coconut gelato…makes my mouth water just thinking about it). LOVE it.

So, it seems obvious that I should create my own mango margarita for our stay-cation (in the hottest, humid-est place on the planet). MangoRita as I like to call her. So, when making up my own recipes I usually scour the internet for other peoples recipes first to get an idea of options out there. I visited Pinterest (check out my write up on how to use this God-send), my archive of recipes in Evernote, then to FoodTv and a general Google search.

Here is what I came up with:

1 bag of frozen mango
1 cup+ of orange juice (if you have triple sec or cointrou, I would use these instead of OJ)
vest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1 cup of tequila
splash of coconut water (optional)

Blend thouroughly to make her smooth.

Quater a lime and rub the rim of a pre-frozen glass and then dip rim in a mixture of sugar and salt. This is a game changer! Much to the disrespect of my Southwestern roots, I do not prefer a traditional salted rim for a traditional margarita and I also do not love a sugar rim for a sweet cocktail, either. But a mixture of salt and sugar is magical and a perfect mouth watering balance!

Pour your mango margarita in the pre-frozen salt and sugar rimmed glass, squeeze a bit of fresh lime over the whole thing, put your feet up and eeeeennnnnjoy!

…for a second and then chase your toddler away from whatever disaster she is about to partake or get her hand out of your MangoRita or fend yourself off from the soaking wet long haired dog trying to get you to play fetch in the pool. That’s my life, anyway.

Try it and let me know what you think?

Running is my prayer. God is my coach.

Today while running I was drafting this post, as I often do while running. Amongst other things I work on and sort out. I was thinking about how much I love to run. Thinking about its new established place in my life: my health, my mental health, my marriage, my identity and in my spirituality. I have been running for over a year now since the birth of my baby girl. I have logged over 300 miles.

I started running to put humpty dumpty back together again as I often joke. And now…

I run for so many reasons.

Today, I was thinking about how therapeutic it is. How much I work through as I run. Whatever is going on in life. I work it out. I let go, I run harder when I am angry or feel helpless, hopeless or out of control. Running is more than therapy though. For me, it’s prayer. It’s my prayer in motion.

As I run, my arms are at my sides hands open loose and facing the earth. As I run, I move forward. If I fight my body I can’t run fast or efficiently and I get tired too quickly. As I clear out my head, I slowly start to feel lighter, stronger, faster.

My body reflects what I need out of that run. Sometimes.

I talk to God while I run. And nearly 100% of the time, when I am finished running I feel peace. Holistic peace. In my body and in my mind. I have resolutions. I feel like a better person. Perhaps that means that God is talking to me too, giving me feedback and guidance. Gracing me with perspective.

I think about being an athlete and how important a coach is when you are an athlete. When you have a goal for victory or improvement.  Success, any success, rarely can be achieved in isolation without input, feedback and encouragement. I believe this to be true and I have lived it. And so many greats pay homage to this truism.

God is my coach. Coaching me through my wildly variant feelings, my negative self talk, the question marks that hang over my decisions, my deepest struggles and creates a path towards my best self, the vision of wild success and good humanness I want for myself. God moves me through it all as I move my body…ever forward.

Running distracts and occupies my body long enough to allow a spirituality to take hold and seize my thoughts, feelings and higher self. Running is my prayer in motion. It moves me. God is my coach. Running occupies my body so that God can take hold of the rest of me. And He moves me. I am learning to just keep moving forward. In life. In all things.

Yep, I love me some runnin’. Partly because it scares the shit outta me. What I am capable of. What it opens me up to. What God needs to tell me. What I have to confess, get real about, confront. What is possible. If nothing else, it keeps me moving forward.

What keeps you moving forward?

Salad…it’s what’s for dinner.

I love salads!

We eat them a lot. In our old house with a brilliant garden we mostly inherited from the previous owners, we grew lettuce and would often dazzle our guests and ourselves by picking fresh greens right as we were about to serve the main meal to add a little simple salad on the side. What is more impressive than that?! I mean, really. (Disclaimer: okay, I get that not everyone is as in love with gardening, or organic living, or food like I am. But to me, there is nothing better or more dazzling.)

This is not my garden, although its lovely, no?

The funny thing though is that sometimes I forget about salads and take an unintentional hiatus from preparing salads. Then I see a great salad recipe or a picture of one on a magazine or see a fabulous salad at a restaurant and it reignites my love and obsession with salads. A simple or complex food. Add what you want. Its different every time. Fresh. Healthful. Interesting and colorful. A blank canvas to create what you will depending on what’s in season, what you have on hand, what your mood inspires, who and how many you are looking to feed. Main dish or side. Sweet or savory. Its a perfectly permeable concept food.

In Phoenix, my hometown and a general fabulous desert dwelling, has many delicious restaurants, albeit many chains. One of the more fantastic ones’ is a newer addition to the Biltmore Fashion Park outdoor mall, True Food Kitchen, by the amazing Dr. Weil. This restaurant is amazing for a numer of reason, least of which is that its an open concept kitchen where you are looking at the ingredients in your fresh meal and watching them being prepared. Brilliantly stimulating of all the senses! Anyway, the last time we were there, my husband and I dined for one of our first and one of few date nights since our Sofie was born. We shared several appetizers-which is one of our favorite ways to dine out as it allows us to taste several things, to share and to minimize costs and overeating (quadruple score!)- and one of them was the Tuscan Kale Salad. Folks, it was divine. I mean, D-IVINE!

True Food Kitchen

Kale is one of those elusive vegetables. Many of us know its a superfood and that we SHOULD eat it more often. But like most “should’s” in our lives, we just end up “shoulding” all over ourselves and doing quite little about it. This salad will help you “should” no more. Its’ light, its fresh, its hearty, and its a whole lot of super, as in super food.

While indulging in some Pinterest time (click here for a guide to Pinterest that I wrote, “Pinterest Explained: 5 Step Guide), I saw someone post another recipe from Dr. Weil and I remembered this salad and decided to go cyber hunting to see if I could find the recipe to make my own Tuscan Kale Salad. (Also, check out my “Devour” board on Pinterest for other yummy recipes I have tried or that I want to try!)

Tuscan Kale Salad

Zoo-ta-looo! I have found it! (Said in the voice of the cook from The Little Mermaid (at 1:03 seconds). While, as an adult passionate about Social Justice, I am appalled by this movie’s messaging for our children about gender roles and “voice”, I still have that little girl in me that watched it so many times I broke the VHS tape and I still quote it and remember every word to every song. Please forgive both of us!)

So, here goes, the recipe from the good Doctor:

Description
True Food Kitchen restaurant exclusive! This traditional Tuscan salad is made with strips of Italian black kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino Tuscano cheese and bread crumbs. These bright, refreshing flavors combine to bring the sunny taste of Italy to your table.Watch a video of Dr. Weil and chef Michael Stebner preparing this delicious salad: How to Make Tuscan Kale SaladFood as Medicine
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.
Ingredients
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread
Instructions
    1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
    2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
    3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
    4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

Please make this salad and dazzle yourself with its simplicity, freshness and superfood-ness! And then let me know what you think…

I am rich.

Anyone who didn’t have enough at some point in their lives (real or perceived) might be able to relate to holding on a little to tight to something (real or not) at some point in your life.

I hold on to clothes and shoes. For ever.

I am going through my clothes and shoes that I store, box, move, restore, re-box and re-move over and over in my life. Now that I have a daughter, I have already started to save everything she ever touched. Or not. Or was given to us. New or not. Every thing.

I realize I could be creating a problem for myself and our little family and our very real lack of storage.

So, here I go, trying to remove before I re-move all this same stuff. Spring is here and a cleaning I will do. I have a “Donation” box ready to go and fill.

The box is a quarter full. I started to take things out of the box to put back in the closet. So, I had to stop to process what its like to let go. Its not about the stuff. Its about feeling like I might not get more stuff when I need it. So I hold on. In case I need it. In case I can’t get what I need when I need it.

So, I journaled for a minute. A mid-cleaning out catharsis and thought I would share. Here goes:

I live a life of abundance. I have plenty. My cup is full. My closet is full. I have everything I need and more. I am beyond blessed. I have so much, in fact, that I give freely. I share. I have enough for me, my family, and extended family. I give and share and the more I give and share the more that comes into my life. And the more that comes into my life the fuller, more swollen with happiness, gratitude and humility I am. I am happy. I am grateful. I am humbly aware of my continual blessings. I am rich beyond comprehension. 

I am rich.

I am rich.

I live a life of abundance.

 

Happy Spring cleaning folks!

 

Pinterest Explained: 5 Step Guide

Hi. My name is Mia. And I am a Pinterest-aholic. (I mean no disrespect to the 12 step communities here. Just my attempt at a laugh or smile or community around a shared vice. Anyway…)

I find myself talking about Pinterest more and more these days. It’s seeping into my spare time, my party planning, visioning, projects, reference items, wish lists and casual conversation.

Several months back, I declared on Facebook, in one of the only status updates I’ve offered since having a baby, “Dear Facebook, I am cheating on you with Pinterest“. It was met with “lols” and “likes” for those in the know (read: fellow addicts) and lots of questions and even hurt from Pinterest virgins (read: not in the know). And it was true. I nearly never logged in to Facebook anymore, which used to be a constant fixture on my quick links or one of my Perma Tabs (back in my Firefox days) and instead now spend almost all my social media time on Pinterest.

So, to the point at hand, I thought I would share a few quick things to explain this tool I have fallen head over heals in love with and often can’t pull myself away from. Here goes…

What is Pinterest?

  • Its another social media tool, like Facebook or twitter
  • Its a visual wonderland
  • Its a really simple tool
  • Its a place to capture images (This is called “pinning”-more on that later)
  • Its also a place to capture video (although not used as often)
  • Its a place to organize what you capture onto customizable boards, topic specific (when you create an account, there are a few pre-set options to get you started)
  • Its a place to interact (hence, the social in social media)
Pinner

The language of Pinterest

  • Pin or pinning: capturing and saving images
  • Repin: pinning someone else’s pin to your own board
  • Pinner: (Rhymes with Sinner) A member of the Pinterest community, one who actively pins
  • Board: a topic specific placeholder for you to collect, again topic specific images

What is “Pinning” exactly?

Think of it in the physical world. Imagine reading a magazine and seeing the perfect dining room table for your new house. You want to save this picture so that you can start finding paint colors, chairs, chandelier, a centerpeice and all the other needed items to decorate your dining room. So, you tear or cut that picture out of the magazine. You decide to start collecting ideas into a folder where you put this picture and any other ideas to help you design and decorate this room. This folder or holding place in Pinterest is called a “board” and you can name it whatever you want. In this case, “Dining Room” might be a good name for your board.

Here is one of my current projects, “Sofie’s Room”, that I have created a board for and am gathering ideas. I am planning out Sofie’s room redesign, now that she is moving into toddlerhood. Feel free to repin something that might help your own project, “like” or comment on any of the items I have pinned.

Pinterest App on the iPhone

How do I pin?

  1. You can download the site’s browser bookmarklet, a button that says “Pin It” onto your bookmark bar
  2. You can upload images from your iPhone on the Pinterest iPhone app
  3. You can upload images directly on the Pinterest.com website with the Add+ button in the toolbar on the top right of the site

Where do I get these images to “pin”?

  • From other Pinners on Pinterest.com (This is where I spend a lot of my Pinterest time…directly on the site, binging on others pins.)
  • From anywhere on the internet, vendors where you shop (e.g. Target), blogs you read, periodicals (e.g. NYT.com)
  • From photos that you take (often a great way to use the iPhone app)
So, wait, how does it work exactly ? Here’s a 5 Step Guide, Step by Step…
Step 1: Let’s say you are on favorite site, say Annie’s Eats (yummy blog)
Step 2: You come across a great recipe on homemade bagels and you think, “I want to make those bagels!” But, not right this minute. I need to hold on to that recipe.
Step 3: Aha! You are now a savvy pinner and decide to use your new favorite social media to hold on to that little recipe. And you’ve already downloaded the bookmarklet onto your Bookmark Toolbar, so you hit “Pin It” and this shows up-all the images on the current page for you to choose from:
Step 4: Then, you select the image you want and hit the “Pin This” button over the image. The second image looks the most decadent and will be a great visual reminder of the yummy bagels I want to make from this awesome recipe, compliments of Annie’s Eats.
Step 5: Then you get a screen pops up that asks you which board you want to pin this image to with a drop down menu (first picture below), then you have the option to add a description (second picture below). I would suggest adding something here that helps you remember what this pin is, exactly. For example “a recipe” or a DIY guide or tutorial. This way you will know if its just a picture of something you made vs. a recipe to help you make something in the future. Once you have added a description, you hit “Pin it”. Lastly, you get the option to “See your Pin” on your board, Tweet it or share on Facebook (third picture below). Or you can just close this box and get back to internet surfing or pinning.
Waalaaa! You are now a successful Pinner!
What makes it social in the social media world?
  • You can repin, comment and “like” other pins from other pinners
  • You can follow any other pinner-either all their boards or select any of their boards to follow
  • Other pinners are able to follow your boards
  • You can collaborate with other pinners on the same board (Planning a bridal shower? You and your fellow ladies in waiting can share a board and each add inspirations, ideas, details of the food, decorations, invitations, you name it.) To be more clear, collaborating on a board means that all parties or pinners can pin images to the same board.
A few tips and points of ettiquette…
  • You can add videos…not often used, but also a great option for your pinning pleasures
  • If you add an item onto a wish list board for example, you can add the amount is costs using a $ sign (for us US currency folks) and it will appear on the image in a banner on the left of the image. Great for a budget bound project, like a birthday party or to capture items I want for my birthday…ahemmm, hubby, if you are reading, this is hint-worthy information, an Easter egg (in Lost language) for you to make your gift giving easier for said wife
  • Use a 5 to 1 ratio…for every 5 repins, pin 1 novel image. This keeps things interesting or pinteresting, as the case may be. (Chuckle, snort, chuckle.)

And lastly, here are a bunch of great articles that my brilliant and way more in the know husband has sent me about Pinterest. He has not created an account for himself yet, but in the language of Strengths, a few of his top strengths are Learner, Input and Context…AND he is a GTD guru, so when it comes to all things social media, education, business, or just plain brilliant,  he is my supplier (read this with a Chicagoan, Italian mob gangster accent replacing the -ier with an- a. It makes it way more fun!) When he saw how excited I was at my new social media obsession, he started researching. So, I will share some of them with you here:

Check out my Pinterest page and see all my boards!

This is my first tutorial, how did I do? If you are new to Pinterest, did this help? If you are familiar with Pinterest, was this informative and hit the basics?

Thanks for reading and happy pinning!

Establishing Easter Traditions

Disclaimer: If you are under the age of 12 years old: Spoiler Alert! Stop reading this post. But then again, I am not sure anyone in that age group would be reading this. Anyway…

Easter is in two weeks and just recently my husband and I looked at each other and for the first time realized, “oh crap, WE are the Easter bunny!” Thankfuly, this epiphany hit us whilst at Target. Hello $1 aisle. How are you? Please rescue me for yet another holiday.

[Now, I am fully aware that this aisle is full of plastic crap made exclusively in China and the moral damage and implications of thoughtlessly, American-ly filling my basket with unnecessary, shiny things for the immediate gratification and temporary satisfaction of simply grabbing as much as I can, as fast as I can. Yes, I am that kind of fussy human that preaches talks about sustainability and fair trade and organic and materialism/capitalism and minimalism. But what I have also learned in the 12 months and 4 weeks of being a mom is that convenience often trumps all other previously held notions or preoccupations. C'est la vie. But back to the point of this post...]

Sofie's First Easter 2011

A picture from Sofie’s first Easter, which was a non-event really because my husband got very sick and it was slowly going around to each of us, so it was more of an infirmary than a day of easater egg hunts and brunch. *Please note the Target $1 aisle bunny ears.

So, (back to Target) I started frantically grabbing as much shiny pastel easter bunny themed and toddler friendly stuff as I could hold we  lovingly filled our basket with a few $1 items, which spawned a great conversation about our favorite traditions for this lovely spring holiday and celebration of our faith.

In my family, my mom would hide our elaborate Easter baskets outside in our yard and garden, so that on Easter morning we would gather each other as a family (we had strict rules about the kids waking each other up before anyone saw any of the surprises or walked into the kitchen area to see the breakfast feasts for Easter or Christmas! We fought a lot as siblings, but we were religious about this courtesy and camaraderie with one another on our favorite holidays.)

Me and my baby brother on Easter morning!

My family would:

  • hunt for our Easter baskets, which usually each had different colored cellophane wrapping, and open them up together as a family. Our baskets were filled with the classic Easter candies like peeps, egg shaped chocolates, often a See’s candies Easter themed box of chocolates and suckers, some toys and a whole lot of joy. My mother was amazing at making our holidays magical. In my child’s mind, those Easter baskets were the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s factory-colorful, fanciful, delicious and decadent. These are big shoes to fill as a mom!
  • get dressed in our spring-y sun dresses, hats and white sandals
  • head off to mass held outside in the Arizona sunshine
  • head over to my Aunt’s house for brunch, an Easter egg hunt, swimming, playing games  like crochet or ping pong, and lazing about in her citrus orchard of a yard. Another word about the Easter eggs hunts at my Aunt and Uncles’ house. When we were young, these were elaborate and the gold egg always had money in it. This was literally GOLD to us, in our younger years. Now, looking back, I am pretty sure it was a handful of coins or a single silver dollar (bonus points here!), but it made your whole day if you found this special egg. Eggs were hidden all over their large property, in the citrus trees, on the roof, in the pool, you name it, it was a HUGE event.

One of my husbands favorite traditions is the Easter bunny’s footprints leading up to their Easter baskets in the living room. His mom would make bunny foot prints using powdered sugar. Totally cute! That would have totally blown my mind as a kid. And as a parent, I pretty much live to see Sofie’s mind blown with delight.

We plan on recreating many of these favorites for our little family. What are your favorite Easter traditions?

Check out my Pinterest board for Easter inspiration!