Easter Weekend

I love Easter! When I was a little kid, I remember enjoying the Easter egg hunts the most. In fact, one year my dad hid real hard boiled eggs, and when we didn't find one, it stunk up the house for several days. Do you remember that, Dad? I don't remember celebrating Easter throughout junior high, high school, or college. We weren't regular church attenders, so maybe that's why, or maybe I'm just getting old, and my memory is fading.

Either way, I'm happy to have Noah because it brings back my favorite Easter egg hunt memories. More importantly, I love Easter because it's one of the times when I reflect most on Jesus' sacrifice for us - all of us - believers or unbelievers. I can't imagine where I would be today without the greatest gift of all.

When I found out that my dad and Danette were coming down to celebrate Easter weekend with us, I was thrilled! I love having them here, and they always bring their two pups, Jada and Luca. They are two of Kya's best friends (Max being her other BFF). It brings me so much joy to see her running around playing with other dogs. Seeing her so happy makes my heart ache for Layla, but I'm confident that we will see her again.

Mid-afternoon on Friday, Dad and Danette arrived, and we took Noah to House of Tokyo a couple hours later. Saturday we decided to join our friends Aaron and Jill, along with their two kids, at St. Barnabas for their Easter egg hunt. Unfortunately, I've never truly paid attention to where St. Barnabas was located, so we ended up at some other church nearby. It was POURING rain, so my entire family treaded through the downpour only to realize we were at the wrong place and needed to once again walk back through the rain to the car. OOPS!

...and I forgot the Easter egg basket to collect the eggs. Awesome!

Thank goodness Jill and Aaron came to the rescue with good directions and an extra basket! After finally arriving at St. Barnabas, we met up with our friends and introduced them to my dad and Danette. The kids ages 3 and under got to go first, so Noah and Jake quickly began collecting eggs around the gym. Noah was hilarious! Rather than go for the eggs in plain sight, he kept searching for the more well-hidden eggs. Guess all of those "practice" Easter egg hunts in our backyard and house paid off! Noah collected his 12 eggs and was excited to find candy, erasers, etc. inside. He enjoyed his first taste of candy and LOVED it! On our way out, there was an Easter bunny dressed up, so we grabbed a quick picture. In the past, Noah has been terrified of huge animals walking around, but he was enamored with this mouse bunny. Seriously, he kept calling it a mouse. Aren't boys supposed to be into bears, puppy dogs, bugs, dinosaurs, etc.? My son is obsessed with fish, mice, and birds. Oh well, we still were able to capture a really cute picture! Noah said "Buh-bye" to the bunny seventeen hundred times, bade farewell to our friends, and went back home.

Ryan left for church around 2 p.m. to prepare for our Saturday night service. Danette and I made Easter eggs with Noah for the first time. Then, Dad and Danette treated Noah and me to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Noah was more than happy with his "hyes" (i.e., fries), and I enjoyed some pizza. We brought dinner home from Ryan and just relaxed the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning we all went to church and heard an awesome message about how Easter is relevant to our lives today. By the way, you can listen to our messages HERE. I was so excited to hear that over 3,000 people came to Emmanuel that weekend! Isn't that awesome?! I'm excited not because we had high numbers, but I'm excited that over 3,000 heard a message that could potentially change their forevers. Now that is something to celebrate!

After church we went home to prepare for our Easter lunch. Ryan's parents were joining us, too, and I was so happy to prepare a meal for everyone. I ended up making stuffed mushrooms, a spiral sliced ham, Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes (which I made the night before and baked the day of), honey butter biscuits, Patty's Famous Salad, and Jello Poke cake. It was delicious! I honestly ate ham, mashed potatoes, and that salad for 5 days straight, two meals per day sometimes. Patty's recipe is delicious, so I want to post it here, too:

Patty's Famous Salad
Spring mix lettuce bags
Feta cheese crumbles
Green apples
Red onions (sliced thin)
NY style garlic bagle chips (green bag)
Poppy Seed dressing (kroger brand is the best)

I guarantee that you will love this salad! The feta and apples make it! Everyone else seemed to enjoy our lunch, too. We all spent time relaxing and had one more Easter egg hunt for Noah in our backyard. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Easter this year!
An Easter basket filled with Mickey Mouse goodies

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