charlotte | the part where it wasn't easter.

i flew home for easter this year. partly because it's easier to tack on more days off at the end of the week because, "oh i'll need to be out of the office on these days because i'm flying." like my life is so glamorous and i just don't have time for that peasant life at the office. *hair flip.* (but no, i can't even type that with a straight face, especially since i flew delta, was in boarding zone 2, and had a layover there and back even though a direct flight is like 45 minutes.) but mostly, flying meant that i could spend the full day with my family on easter, instead of spending half of it in the car driving back to nashville.

so, i got there on thursday afternoon and stayed until sunday night and it was GLORIOUS. i got to see where my people live now, because they don't all live in the same space anymore. (!!) this is immensely exciting for T and lee, who haven't lived in their own space since moving to charlotte almost three years ago, and for my parents, who have their own house again.

i can't tell you how much it made my heart happy to see T and lee on their own and in their new space with luca. it's been so neat to watch their faith and life unfold in a new city. their story is incredible to me, and it's inspiring to see how they make bold moves and trust that god will meet them.

and then, even while knowing all the challenges my parents faced, it still felt a little unreal to walk through the rooms of their new house. like, how is this real life? how did we end up here? it just feels so dreamy and exciting. and also, kind of mind blowing. because all of this, in three years, and none of it was really planned out.

the weekend was filled with being together, driving from house to house, taking walks, shopping, eating meals together, playing with luca, standing in rooms trying to imagine different ways to decorate and/or arrange the furniture, preparing for easter. those types of things.

the neat and very strange thing about your parents moving is that all the things they had stored away in boxes come out in the move. when they were packing the old house, they gave each of us the memory boxes they'd kept of crafts and projects and things from when we were growing up. (i have yet to look through mine. i think maybe i'm a little afraid the nostalgia will kill me.) and now, while unpacking, they're finding lots of gems. like these mother's day cups we made for our mom in kindergarten. i, apparently, felt the need to include my name on mine in case there was any confusion about who it was.

even when i come for quick weekend visits, a trip to target is usually on the itinerary. this weekend,  we went because, among other things, my parents wanted to get luca a bike for easter. and i just thought you would enjoy a side-by-side photo comparison of me carrying the box with the bike this year, and me carrying the vacuum cleaner my mom spontaneously decided to buy last year. both of these photos were, in fact, taken on easter weekend one year apart. just look how much my style has changed since then. i mean, really.

luca loves to wear adult shoes, and i think he loved these ones of mine in particular because, well, can you tell that he loves that color? every time i'd go to take a photo of him wearing them, he would squat down like this and fold his hands.

also let's take a moment to appreciate his hair, because i fear that one day soon T will win lee over and trim it, given that it looks somewhat like a mullet. you can consider this post as my own personal petition against cutting his hair.

we found our new photo wall at my parents' house.

T and i just don't really know how to take a normal photo, apparently. on the left, from easter weekend. on the right, from thanksgiving.

okay, here's the deal with the teepee. i love it. most times, i will go in there and sit down all by myself and i don't really know that luca knows what to do with this. sometimes he will come over and sit in there with me, sometimes he will go back and forth between the door and the window on the side and play a version of peek-a-boo, and sometimes he will not care that i'm in there at all and continue to play with his action figures outside the teepee while i continue to sit in there. and it wasn't until just now, typing this out, that i remembered how much i used to love making forts when i was little. it never happened very frequently, because fort making is messy, but i always thought they were the coolest.

on this night, i babysat luca while T and lee volunteered at church. i took luca on two walks, one in his car that has absolutely no turning radius, and another in his stroller because i was done with the car but he wasn't done going for a walk. he LOVES to be outside, and i LOVE him. so we went on two walks. i only took a few photos while we were out, but after we got back i was surprised to find at least 47 photos of my feet.

homeboy loves sunglasses. he spotted my pair on the end table and he turned around with so much joy on his face, like he'd just found a really spectacular piece of treasure. but he didn't touch them until i told him he could. he's so good about things like that. it's probably the most significant thing i noticed about the way he's grown since i saw him last. he's pretty respectful of your things, as much as an almost-two year old can be. whether it's the remote or your phone or sunglasses, he'll hand them over if you ask him to. he doesn't speak very many words (and when he does, they don't really sound like the real words), but he understands them well.

when luca was little, he liked touching your hair and holding onto it. most times, it ended with him gripping and yanking it. thankfully, he has now reached an age where he touches your hair and still thinks it so fun, but it all stays on your head and nobody gets a time out.

my favorite thing about him right now is probably the way he says "love you." i don't know that i could type out the way it sounds, partly because it's more like a sound and less like two individual words, and partly because he says it differently, depending on how much he's paying attention and how many times you're having him say it. (which, let's be real, i would just keep repeating it back and forth forever if he didn't eventually stop saying it back. i just can't get enough.) the best part is that, while he may not be pronouncing it clearly, he knows what he's saying and he totally means it and you can tell by the look on his face.

other favorite things (yes i totally sat down and made a list after i babysat him because i never want to forget these things):

+ playing hide and seek, hiding in the same spots each time, the way he giggles every time you find him or he finds you, repeating this for like an hour and it never getting old.

+ the way he says "yes," which sounds a lot like "yeah" with an "s" sound tacked onto the end.

+ he says "meow" (it sounds more like "mow") when you ask him what a cat says.

+ when you tell him that a bee says "bzzzz," he repeats you with "oooo" and truly thinks he's saying it right.

+ when he does something to make you laugh but it's unintentional, he laughs with you but it's a different kind of laugh. like an "i love that you're laughing" laugh, and not a "this is so funny" laugh.

+ bedtime snuggles. forever and ever and ever.

because my mom has a new house and H wanted to redecorate her living room, we spent a lot of time in stores like world market and home goods and bed, bath & beyond. so much time, that T and i eventually got bored (and hungry) towards the end, when my mom and H spent what seemed like an eternity laying out and comparing every navy blue bath mat they had in stock. so we bought this chocolate, caramel, sea-salted popcorn from the display at the front and sat in the outdoor furniture section while we waited.

(in case you were wondering, the popcorn was delicious and i would recommend it, if you happen to be looking for a snack while browsing bed, bath & beyond. T thinks it could've used a little more sea salt.)

next up: easter festivities.