"he died on the cross for our hearts."

easter twenty seventeen looked like this.

luca is three years; jack is seven months.

i got in late on thursday night. i actually got out of work early that day, but what i gained from getting an earlier start, i later lost to traffic: leaving nashville, passing through knoxville, and wherever there was new construction along I-40E, because there's always something. thankfully, i was loaded up with podcasts and snacks because i know better. (i've only been doing this basically every month for almost four years.) (wow.)

on good friday, we stopped to get donuts before spending the day at the park. on the way, i got to hold both of my nephews' hands (as they were both feeling a bit cranky) and witness the seemingly bi-polar behavior of a toddler, who says he wants to eat a donut at the park as we're pulling into the donut shop parking lot, but then complains about it when he realizes where we are because he doesn't want to go there.

also, for comparison (for you, T), here is how serious luca and i are about our backseat hand-holding.

from october 2015 to april 2017.

the only photos i took at the park were of the donuts and jack. so i guess you'll never know if we had any fun at all. (or if lee and luca were even there?)

jk, luca was definitely there because both of the bites taken from those donuts in the box are from him. and almost immediately after i snapped that photo, he asked for a bite of mine too.

on saturday morning, i babysat the boys while T and lee ran errands. which mostly happened because T asked me to go with her and i said no because i'd rather hang out with luca. (i believe those were my exact words.) sorry, not sorry i'm choosing your toddler over you. i didn't want to leave her hanging though, so i offered to babysit so she and lee could go out, sans kids.

i think it worked out well for everyone (i hear running errands alone can be something of a romantic adventure when you're two kids in), but mostly it worked out for me because luca is more apt to choose me to play with him when both of his parents aren't around. also when i have chocolate eggs to offer.

we painted. we played catch with the tennis ball in the garage (so we could be "outside" but not where it's sunny) (that was his reasoning and, no, i did not teach him that). we played hide and seek. we had a pillow fight. and about twenty minutes before T and lee got home, jack finally woke up to join the party.

i'm including that photo with the dollhouse potty because, well, luca's face. but also, T has her dollhouse toys in the garage, which luca sometimes plays with, and there was something about that potty that jack found to be really soothing to his teething self. and it became something of a joke, because it was the toy we reached for when he became fussy. "where's your potty?" we'd ask.

why spend $20+ on sophie when a dollhouse potty will also do the trick?

on saturday night, we were finally successful in getting ready early enough to have a non-stressful photo shoot in our easter outfits before church. and by finally, i mean we have been trying for this every year since luca was born.

here, i will share just 47 of my favorites.

i just can't, with their suspenders and bowties and faces.

and then there is this, my favorite thing of all. he died on the cross for our hearts.

"now i'm done?"

on the way to church, i don't even know how i noticed it – if i wanted to take a photo and noticed luca was grumpy, or if i noticed he was grumpy and went for the photo-cheer-up. either way, this series of photos is my favorite. because, it worked. i got him to crack.

jack, on the other hand, tried to pull me into his car seat with him?

on the way home, jack was not having it. he kept pulling me in, trying to chew on my fingers, and then pushing me away like he couldn't decide what he wanted. at one point, he was pushing me away with his foot, while his hand was clawing at my arm to pull me in.

hello, teething baby.


it reminded me of when luca was in a rear-facing carseat and he'd put his foot up, not to push you away, but to simply use your arm as a foot rest. which, of course, feels like that happened last week and not two years ago.

mom and dad got the post-church photo shoot. which was prompted by me saying, "can you get up and take some photos with me so i can go change into sweatpants?"

recently, i was reading through old journals i wrote (for school) in third grade. in one entry, i write half a page about how much i hate dresses, including the one i was wearing as i wrote about it. almost twenty years later, i still feel the same way.

on easter sunday, we had brunch at my parents' house. and an easter egg hunt (favorite). and we painted eggs. (and i truly mean "we" because luca colored only like four of the dozen T boiled.)

jack got a single egg, compared to luca's 26. they were all filled with money, which i have my dad on video explaining how that's because "chocolate melts outside."

adults were not allowed to join in on the egg hunt.

it was such a fun weekend, as easter weekends usually are. like the truth just hangs in the air. you don't need to be thinking about the empty tomb, in particular, to feel the joy and freedom it brings.

two years ago, i wrote this: and it's things like this, a perfectly average easter egg hunt with a 1.5 year old, that get me. i want to bottle these moments up and save them for a rainy day. or the day when he goes to kindergarten or get his driver's license. because, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about this day, except for the fact that there will only ever be this one easter.

i remember writing that, trying to capture this feeling of being so in love with our day, though our activities weren't anything out of the ordinary. this year was much the same, and i texted T the other day that i would like to re-live this easter weekend. eating donuts at the park, playing with luca and making jack laugh, watching luca collect all the eggs and documenting what jack's face looks like at exactly seven months.

everything except the end.

because that's what it was: an ending. i knew this time would be the last time with bailey, that my goodbye would be forever. and i couldn't handle it. saying goodbye, letting go, and driving away is never easy.

for the first time in four years, i actually drove away and then turned around to go back.

eventually, i left for real and made it all the way back home to nashville. and part of me hates to end this post with that, just as i hated leaving charlotte carrying the weight of it, but that's what's real.

this weekend was bittersweet. it will forever be marked by the happiest and sadness moments.