We’ll call this post a celebration of my family. In part because my family contributed so many of the pictures!
My mom took this picture. I am honored that she thinks of me when she sees delicious risotto.
Isn’t it exquisite?! It’s from Mintwood Place in DC. I want to eat it right now- I really think fresh peas might be some of my favorite things in the whole world.
This next picture was captured when I had already gotten home for Easter, but was upstairs sleeping my face off (I arrived Thursday evening and slept for TWELVE HOURS. School is wiping me out!)
There’s a handsome feral cat living in our neighborhood, and Sheila has a crush on him. (She often hates other cats, but seems intrigued by him. Sometimes they touch noses. He pursues her much more than she pursues him. She’s a coy little thing).
Since I did so much sleeping I tried really hard to contribute to the family’s well being in some way. It’s kind of crazy though- I totally regress when I’m at home being cared for by my mommy! Slack on the dishes and so on. This particular Saturday morning my mom arose at 5 am and volunteered at a soup kitchen (a monthly commitment). And I… slept some more.
Anyway, I made everyone pancakes (from Trader Joe’s exquisite pumpkin pancake mix). Malindi cleverly topped hers with cream cheese, syrup, and pecans for a sort of frosting effect.
And then Easter happened! Didn’t take a lot of pictures, and it was sort of… a bizarre experience. The choir director at our church (BETTY I KNOW YOU READ THIS SO YOU CAN PASS THIS ON TO JOHN) is literally the BEST HUMAN BEING I KNOW. He’s a lovable statistician who can make a mean math pun. Gets to work on a long trip on public transportation (so he’s kind to the planet too). He wears a cute little fisherman’s hat in the summer to protect his skin from the sun. He has a soft voice and a smiling face that babies all love. In his spare time he volunteers in hospice and at a food distribution center for the poor. And directs the choir for which he gets no pay and a LOT OF MALARKY from the priests.
This particular year they changed both the Good Friday and midnight Easter services with a whopping half hour’s notice. I don’t understand it… does Easter sneak up? Do the priests go, “Huh, I’m not sure if there’s Easter this year” like it’s the equivalent of February 29th? Baffling.
The service was okay, is the point, but I thought some somewhat unChristian thoughts about some of the nonsense that went down.
What followed was a spotty night’s sleep. This is in part because the choir had music taken away which was replaced with funereal droning in Arabic- which extended the service by a solid hour. So I didn’t get to bed til 3 am, then woke up at 6 for awhile with the sun, then was up for good at 9. Lame.
My Easter basket helped though! We actually had three Easter bunnies in my family (though while my basket was more well rounded, I got my mom and my sister exclusively chocolate products, hahaha. The Easter Bunny actually hooked me up with some cash this year which was extremely, extremely kind of the Easter Bunny).
Another of the Easter bunnies was clever and sneaky and left Easter merriment hidden in various parts of the house.
My mom, of course, made her delicious baklava. The smell of it baking (along with the smell of lamb baking, but we didn’t host Easter this year so I didn’t get my fix of that) is really what makes the holiday feel real to me.
Secrets to the best baklava:
1. Add some almonds to the walnuts for a less bitter flavor
2. Use clarified butter for a cleaner flavor
3. Bake the baklava at a moderate, not too high heat, and cover for the later part of the baking time to prevent overcooking
4. Only use half the syrup so it’s moist but not soggy
Easter was hosted at my sister’s godparents and it was so lovely! It was a beautiful, beautiful, PERFECT day (in the high 60s, sunny) and everyone was in good spirits. The hosts invited the priest’s family from their church, who only stated for a bit. Even more fun, they also had the lovely family who help tend the grounds who stayed for quite awhile and were SO MUCH FUN! Their kids were so cute, smart, and fun to be around. The seven year old put up with some intense teasing about girlfriends from my sister’s godfather 😀
And of course it helped that we had a REAL LIVE EASTER BUNNY! My cousin Nicholas has a pet rabbit, Thumper, who is just the coolest, chillest bunny ever. Nicholas has worked with kids a lot, so Thumper has been exposed to their noise/sudden movements/etc. and he was just so nonchalant as they chased him around and petted him and picked him up (though the kids were also well behaved and gentle with him). He was happy to just bop around and look for clover. And he’s so sooooooft!
Pictured above is my mom’s best friend from high school, Suzanne, who was another fun addition to the party. She lives in Perth, Australia but comes visit for a few weeks every year to see her parents. When her parents fuss over her in excess (as she puts it, “They fret!”) she escapes to my mom’s house. And gosh the two of them crack me up- they lounge around in their pajamas drinking (in moderation: disclaimer, my mom is a lightweight so when I say drinking I mean 1 drink) and giggling, basically. I hope to be like that with my best friend from high school in the next few decades!
I was sad to return to school this year. Let’s be real, who wants to leave being cared for and constantly fed in the bosom of their family to instead have to do a billion assignments and group projects and tests in a frighteningly short period of time?
Fortunately, I have many things comforting me. To begin with, NEW LIFE IS BEGINNING ON MY PORCH!
My roommate and I have had a comically dead plant hanging on our deck for quite some time. Alli went to dump out the planter’s contents to replace them with something less dead, but shocker! Five little eggs!
This mama is super dedicated to her kiddos. We think she is either a Carolina wren or a Southern phoebe… so we named her Phoebe! I can’t wait for the eggies to hatch!
We are trying very hard not to stress her out, or spend too much time out there. Apparently if mama bird feels like the nest is threatened, she will station herself there and literally starve herself to death rather to leave and get food and worry that the eggs/baby chicks won’t survive. I am so glad I’m not a bird, guys.
I’m glad she’s under the eaves and protected from the rain, but I still worry because the wind makes that thing wave around like crazy!
In other important baby bird news, longtime readers will remember that my aunt has neighbors we call Chicken Family. She was chicken sitting and rotating eggs each day under the incubator and look who was born early!
Being the first person this chick saw (and assumed mama) she got to name him/her (can’t tell yet- too small!). Behold, Henry (or Henrietta if a girl!) He eats crumbled hardboiled egg yolk (which I thought was cannibalism but apparently both yolk and white are food for little chicken embryo while they grow in the shell)
Henry is a Bantam. Her Ancona brothers and sisters are much bigger, but my aunt notes, “she is fierce like a Scottie” (the kind of little but fierce dog my aunt has!)
And finally, I must brag about my baby sister. She got one of the coveted internships at Share Our Strength (something for which, I must admit, I was interviewed but not accepted). She’s helping coordinate their Great American Bake Sale.
Isn’t she so adorable?!
She had a busy weekend in which she celebrated Easter with us on Sunday and then starting in the wee hours of Monday, the Share Our Strength summit and their big fundraiser- Taste of the Nation. (and then went on to take a biochem test and organic chemistry quiz in the next couple of days, like a champ!)
She sent me delectable pictures