However, plans changed when my best childhood friend called to tell me she would be in town over the weekend. She and her husband live in Florida so I rarely get to see her. She just had a precious new baby boy in January, and this would be my first chance to meet him!
I have to give a little background on Carrie's and my friendship because it is pretty unique. Many of you who read this blog know that my childhood summers were spent in Clear Lake. In fact, I spent the first 30 summers of my life growing up at the lake. I could write a whole book on how this impacted my life and what a special place it is to me (I even had my wedding there!) A huge part of the reason the lake is/was so special to me is because of Carrie.
(Please forgive these pictures, they are ancient! Ha!)
Carrie and I met when we were 8 years old. We were in the summer parks and rec program at the lake, and she is from Clear Lake. My parents often enrolled me in summer activities there, so I could meet other kids and make friends. I was a relatively social kid (imagine that!) and one day I just picked Carrie out of the crowd, ran up to her and asked her to come over to my house to play. She said "sure!" and her mom now says she realized later that she had just sent her daughter off with a complete stranger!
And so began a beautiful friendship...
Ok, check out those 80's hairstyles!!! Man, we were so cool back then! Hahaha!
Carrie and I literally grew up together. She is my oldest and dearest friend. I could also write a whole book about all of our experiences and memories over the years. We are going on 27 years of being friends. That is almost 3 decades! We were joined at the hip every single summer since that fateful day I ran up to her in the park and asked her to play. Over the years we kept in touch after the summer by writing many letters to each other. Sometimes, when we got a little older, our parents would arrange to meet halfway and let us see each other during the school year. Once we were old enough to drive, we made many road trips- to each other's colleges and beyond (not to mention our senior road trip to the Wisconsin Dells!) Carrie even flew to visit me in New Zealand when I was student teaching there.
Then of course there was our weddings...
... hers in 2002
...mine in 2003
This was when Carrie met Andrew for the first time when she and her husband, Eric, came back to Iowa from Florida for a visit.
Which brings us to my first meeting with her precious little Eric Jon ("EJ.")
I just could not pass up this rare opportunity for our boys to meet for the first time!
This is such a special picture. It holds so many memories, past, present and future. Back when we were kids, when we dreamed of meeting the men of our dreams (and there were some doozies along the way!), we always dreamed of having babies together and them growing up to be good friends too. Unfortunately, distance now separates us physically, but our hearts are always connected and always will be. Ours is one of those friendships that will never end.
Since we were at the lake, we got to stay the night with my aunt, uncle and cousins. We got there pretty late, but Kolton had stayed awake to greet Andrew and read him a bedtime story!
Andrew sat for the entire book listening with a smile to Kolton. He absolutely adores his cousins.
Then in the morning, Kelsie woke up the earliest and came down to cuddle with Andrew!
He just loves being with his big cousins (they are actually my cousins, so they are his 2nd cousins, but who's counting!?)
Watching Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel before heading out to our Easter egg hunt!
We visited the animals outside (they live on a farm and Andrew loves it!)
He got to ride Daisy the pony!
He just had a ball!
Then we headed to the Easter egg hunt in town. Andrew and Kelsie are in the front towards the right. He would not let go of her hand! He kept saying "Kelsie hand, Kelsie hand!" All of his cousins are just so sweet to him and they love to play with him, even when all their friends are around.
Andrew got the hang of the Easter egg hunt.
But once he found this sucker...
He was done! He wanted it "out" and wanted to eat it and the hunt was off!
Plus he spotted this really fun park, and it was all over from there!
After the egg hunt, we headed back home so we could get ready for Easter at my grandma's. Andrew was very excited he would get to see Kolton, Kelsie and Kendra again the next day!
Andrew and I made Easter cookies to take to my grandma's. Did you know you can make delicious cookies out of Funfetti cake mix??
Me with my little helper
You just follow the directions on the box- it is just like the cake but you don't add water and use one less egg.
You just stir it up like this...
And sneak a bite to make sure it tastes okay!
Then I just use my awesome scooper from Pampered Chef (the small one). Oh, and if you cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper, there's no clean up! I'm all about that!
Then you just take a glass and flatten the cookies a little bit.
Then you wait! Which is hard for Andrew!
But he tried really hard to be patient...
After they cool, frost with Funfetti frosting and sprinkles, and they are so soft and delicious! They were a hit! And don't they look pretty and Easter-y?
Almost as much as this adorably handsome little guy on Easter Sunday! I couldn't help but show you a sneak peek! More to come about our Easter weekend part 2!
John 11:25 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die...'"