Brian and I started off our weekend on Friday dyeing Easter eggs! It was just the two of us at the kitchen table while Hope was taking a little nap.
We had so much fun choosing colors - and then mixing colors - there were no rules!
We also told each other funny, made up stories and had a lot of laughs. Brian is developing quite the imagination and he is so much fun to 'hang out' with!
We also remembered last year and I reminded him how we made marbled colored eggs with shaving cream and food dye. And how Gavin got shaving cream everywhere - even in his ears!! We really missed Gavin as we were decorating the eggs.
There were all kinds of fancy ways to decorate the eggs in the kits I bought - ways that involved paint and stencils and sponging and more. Brian chose to put Star Wars stickers on his eggs.
I did not put up a fight. Although we did save a few to decorate for Hope with glitter and butterflies.
In the end, every egg was a masterpiece and Brian was very pleased. In our house, dyeing the eggs is pretty much it. Brian can't eat straight eggs - only if they are in something like baked goods. So I tell him that we leave the colored eggs out to show off to the Easter Bunny when he comes by.
On Saturday we had an extra special treat! Ed's sister, Kat, and his Aunt Mee Ling came to visit!
Kat lives in Connecticut in the town where she and Ed grew up. After their parents died when Ed was 11 and 12, Kat raised him. She was a phenomenal "Mom" to Ed. (Mee Ling's brother was Ed's Dad)
Mee Ling lives in New Jersey and she shared the ride down from there with Kat. It's always good to see Mee Ling - we were really excited for her to meet Brian and Hope! And, as you can see, they fell in love with her instantly...
It was great for Brian to get to know his Aunt Kat! They had a "ball" playing with a ball and paddle toy she brought for him.
But the happiest one of all? Ed. He was thrilled to have his family here. And even more excited when they planned an entire day of cooking together!! Ed was eager to learn some new Chinese dishes from his Aunt Mee Ling. They spent much of the afternoon cooking and chatting.
They were making Bean Curd Soup, roasted chicken with scallion dip and honey ham and chinese sausage fried rice.
While the soup was cooking, Mee Ling brought out boxes filled with jewelry for Hope and Brian. She even had jewelry for me - and a tie bar that was Ed's Grandfather's. Hope got a gorgeous jade baby bracelet. Brian was very excited to get a jade necklace.
Brian was really into everything Mee Ling was telling him - and he's still talking about it today.
Ed has a jade necklace that his Grandmother gave him that he wore for years up until recently! Receiving a piece of jade from a relative like this is very, very special.
In the midst of all the excitement our little bunny, Hope, turned 20 weeks old!!
She is getting so big. And curious! This week she's watching everything... she studies me when I'm eating, talking and drinking. When she nurses - she stops constantly and wants to sit up, look around to see if she's missing anything and then she hops on back down. It's a riot.
She's laughing and smiling SO much more!
And her biggest smiles are still for Brian - he's a big help whenever I want to take her picture!
Her eyes are still blue, which is amazing. She's very fair, too, like me! She's a little chameleon... in some photos she looks Chinese and in others she looks like me!
But mostly, she looks like her sweet happy self all day long.
Happy 20 weeks, Hopi Doo!!
It was nearing dinner time and Ed and Mee Ling started on the fried rice. Did I mention that Ed was in Heaven?
It was an amazing meal.
We were very sad to see them go and we vowed that it would not be long before we got together again. It was such a great day - for all of us!!
That same night...the Easter Bunny came!!!!!
Hope's very first Easter basket was filled with fun toys...
...and so was Brian's with the addition of a small amount of candy!
He couldn't wait to get downstairs to see what the bunny had left him...
...and he was quick to remind me that I told him he could eat one piece of candy before breakfast. He got a big kick out of that dramatic rule change!!
The first thing he wanted to do, though, was the Easter Egg hunt. The Easter Bunny hid plastic eggs around the house filled with coins!
He raced around and opened the eggs to find pennies and nickels and dimes and quarters for his piggy bank.
I really let him go to town on the candy today. I figured he could eat it all today - in one shot - and not beg me for pieces every day for two weeks.
So all of us pretty much ate candy all day. I have to admit - it was awesome.
We got in our Sunday best and got some beautiful photos outside. Sometimes looking at these growing children takes my breath away. I feel so lucky (I really do) and can't believe that they're mine sometimes. Brian is growing and changing before our eyes and he's just such a special child. He's sweet and compassionate, funny and imaginative and he loves all of us so much.
He was such a great brother to Gavin - and he's an extraordinary brother to Hope. I know there are great things in store for this child.
It's only been a year since Gavin died, but I find myself wondering how he would have changed in one year. His looks... his progress... I'm sure he would be walking confidently if he was still here. And perhaps we would have seen even bigger progress - like a word or two or even feeding himself solid food. Who knows.
But I do know how grateful we are that he is safe... and free... and happy where he is... and whole. As much as we are devastated that he is gone... we are grateful for the promise of hope. We know we will see him again someday and when we do, it will feel like no time has passed at all.
Hope arrived just in time... not just for our little family, but for the world.
Happy Easter from our family to yours.