Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Easter Basket

*I started writing this post prior to receiving the call that my father-in-law had taken a turn for the worse on the evening of Palm Sunday.  Being Holy Week and knowing that the hearts of our children were a little heavy, I remained focused on creating moments of simple joy in our house and continued recording them here.

My own Easter basket, it isn't made of white wicker, gingham plaid pastels or tulle netting.  There are no remnant aromas of jelly beans and chocolates, even though that smell is so yummy.  My Easter basket is even sweeter than the left over smells of candy!

As a bundle of memories, my Easter basket's appearance actually changes each year.  I still hold it near to my heart.  Some years my Easter basket is fuller than others, depending on when Easter day arrives on the calendar, and it never lets me down.

This year it was filled with precious memories  beginning on Palm Sunday.

We celebrated two, very important days in our house.

Ester's baptism birthday on April 13, (2001).

Ester's precious heart was not in the best of health at birth.  In fact, by just 2 weeks old, she was in Congestive Heart Failure.  We kept her home, away from strangers and germs, waiting for her surgery date.

Living 120 miles from the closest relative, our elderly neighbors, Charles and Eleanor, helped us out a lot.  They were Ester's proxy godparents during a very small & private baptism (at 6 weeks of age.)


We celebrate our baptism birthdays each year in a very simple manner.  This year, we gave Ester a leather-bound book, Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit.  (I found it at a local Catholic gift shop.)

I thought it was appropriate since she is about to enter her 2nd year of Confirmation preparation.

You can also find it on Amazon, here.

Then there was Stan's Gotcha Day celebration April 9, (2006).

Wasn't he just a doll?!

On April 9, 2006, they officially placed him in our arms forever before driving us to the airport.

That photo above was actually the 2nd leg of the trip home out of 3.   (Seoul, South Korea to Tokyo, Japan.   Tokyo, Japan to Chicago, IL.  Chicago, IL to Springfield, IL.)

His big sisters met us at the airport with joy! joy! joy!  hugs galore, tons of kisses, and balloon & signs!

That photo above makes my heart just thump so hard!


Each year we celebrate April 9, trying to do something to involve his heritage.

He's getting older now and has more of a say in matters.  Due to a busy calendar, he agreed to postpone his celebration by a few days and instead of a Korean restaurant, he chose to dine in at In and Out :)

It was just Stan, David and myself.  Some good one-on-one time with Stan the man!

(Check out those delicious burgers!)

For an extra special dessert to celebrate both events, we made Black Bottom Cupcakes (recipe found here) and then turned them into the traditional Easter basket cupcakes...

Inside those delicious cupcakes was a special cream cheese, chocolate chip filling...

My kids LOVE these!!  They are SO good!

This year, my Easter basket was also filled with bittersweet moments, when we received word on Wednesday of Holy Week that my dear father-in-law passed away.

Remembering the man he was prior to the devastating effects that Alzheimer had on his body helped us find some peace knowing that his pain and torment was gone.

We started to prepare for the trip back "home" to bury Grandpa Bill.

Trying to keep it somewhat "normal"....I continued focusing on simple, colorful moments  during Holy Week ::

Little fingers coloring Easter eggs for the first time...look at her smile :)

I placed some Easter eggs on the mantel...

Set out some bunnies....

I just love my table cloth!  My mother and father brought it back after a trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia where my mother's family is from.

Pulling it out of the drawer each Easter makes me so happy.  Each year, as I run my hands over it to smooth out the wrinkles, I dream of taking a trip to Slovenia .... some day....

Simple Easter decorations this year, but they kept our children feeling secure with routine.   Feeling secure is a good thing especially when a grandparent has just passed away.


*We are off now, driving a GREAT distance for my father-in-law's funeral and then stopping in to visit my mother for two days before starting back for Texas.     I have my lovely neighbors watching the house.  (Such great neighbors.  Truly.)

Thank you for all the kind expressions of sympathy you have passed along and the prayers.  If I may ask, please continue to pray for our safe journey, (we still have the 1,000 mile trip back to Texas.)

God bless you and Happy Easter!

~  Patty  ~


  1. Wow. Look at all the beauty in your Easter. I especially love the eggs. Beautiful. (The tablecloth is gorgeous.) Happy Easter. Stan was such a cute baby.

    1. Thanks, Phyllis. I hope your Easter was peace-filled. I thought of you a lot as you had your own memories to cherish this year.

  2. Prayers for you, your family, and your dear father-in-law. I was in your shoes almost a year ago. We have an anniversary coming in the next couple weeks. It's so hard to watch your loved ones grieve.

    Prayers that your Easter basket continues to fill.

    1. It really is. In a way, I was glad I knew what to say or do since I had been through the loss of my own father 7 almost 8 years ago. Thank you for the prayers and kind words.

  3. *hugs* and prayers for your sweet family and especially your Father-n-law. This post was so lovely, it brought big huge tears to my eyes.

    1. Thank you, Kathryn, for your prayers and kind words.

  4. My Dear Patty, Thank you for sharing this post, all the photos are so lovely! Ester sure looks healthy today, a tribute to your care and God's grace. Loved the photo of Stan on the airplane! And you looked like such a happy Mama surrounded by the girls saying hello to their new brother.

    Safe travels, may Our Lady of the Highway bless you and cover you in her protection.

    1. It is hard to believe we have had Stan home for almost 8 years! While going through the adoption process, it seemed an eternity! Truly! And miss ester is a very healthy young lady today:). Praise God for modern medicine!!

  5. My friend...
    I read this over and over again...
    So much to enjoy here...
    The love you have for your whole family...
    The work you so lovingly put in to making a beautiful Easter celebration for them...
    And all the memories you make and preserve...
    You inspire me!
    And those cupcakes look amazing! : )
    Drive safely home...Stay in touch, ok!

    1. Thanks, Billie Jo. Thanks for all your kind words and prayers!

  6. Such a bittersweet post. My heart hurt and my eyes welled with tears as I remember my mama's journey of Alzheimer's. Oh sweet girl, what a beautiful Easter in the midst of the pain as you made it a celebration of the events of your children. What a beautiful table runner and special to say the least. Thoughts and prayers as you finish your journey home. Blessings to you and yours, Bonnie

    1. Alzheimer's is an extremely sad disease, isn't it. Sorry to hear your own mother had to suffer from it. Thank you for the kind words and continued prayers.

  7. Thank you for sharing these wonderful moments! Highs and lows abound in life to be sure. What a blessing to see God's grace in all of it. God bless you all!

  8. I love the beauty and simplicity of your week. Bittersweet, for sure. You do so well at creating memories and intentional seasons for your family. I had to smile when I saw the basket cupcakes because my grandma used to make some like that. It brought back memories and the reminder that I forgot how she used to do that. I've got to remember it for next year. Your mantel is always so pretty and inviting. I enjoy when you post photos of it. :)

  9. Thank you, Sarah, for your kind words!

  10. Patty, what a beautiful post. I love your simple and yet most meaningful way of celebrating special days in your family. I'll be praying for you and your family this week.

  11. What full and precious Easter basket! Prayers for your family during your travels.

  12. What a great post! SO much here! Stan, oh, my what a special day and what a cutie he was as a baby (still is)!! And my first outloud thought was "They have In-N-Out Burger's down in Texas?" (I worked as a senior in one in California)

    Love that beautiful tablecloth.
    I have no special decorations...I'm lame. The kiddos just color/paint/decorate eggs and crosses and chicks and bunnies and we hang them up!

    You are amazing. Do you know that?
    You did all this, while mourning and packed your whole family for a big trip...amazing mama!


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