7 Quick Takes: Lasagna for Easter, our fun spring break, preparing for summer, a trip to the zoo, and signs of spring

~1~

Happy Easter! We ran out on Holy Saturday to get carrots to leave for the Easter Bunny that night. Somehow everyone was exhausted at bedtime, and we threw together a very quick snack for the Bunny.

As we did, it occurred to me that the plates we use for the Bunny’s snack every year were our younger son’s Baptism gift from his godparents. How fitting that we bring them out once a year at Easter.

On Easter morning the boys ran to their baskets.

Then I made a few pancakes shaped like bunnies. 

We hosted Easter again this year—does that make it an annual tradition?—and the boys helped me fill eggs with Baby Goldfish for their little cousins, who are 1 and 2 ½. We filled theirs with coins. Everyone searched for a golden egg, and the boys each won Pokemon cards, while the girls won straw hats I found for two for $3.

I served lasagna because who doesn’t like lasagna? And maybe it’s the only thing I know how to make that everyone likes. We also served both animal-shaped butters I found at Wegman’s because butter tastes better when it’s a fun shape. 

Instead of using jarred sauce in the lasagna, I sautéed some onion and garlic in olive oil, added crushed tomatoes, a tiny bit of salt and a generous amount of pepper, and cooked it for about 10 minutes. I thought it was delicious and maybe a little juicier. I heard no complaints.

I made cupcakes and tried to make them look like Easter baskets, though I am sure there’s a better way. 

How was your Easter? Or, to be more liturgically correct, how is your Easter going?

~2~

I’ve been off for the week with the boys since they are on spring break. When I say I’m off, I have to admit that I am not very good at being completely off. I have done a few things for work in between all the fun we are having.

But we have managed to fit in bowling, a trip to the zoo, bicycle riding, shopping, trips to two libraries, mini golf, laser tag, and more. 

And we aren’t finished yet.

~3~

Meanwhile, we have 12 full weeks of summer to plan for. I am happy to see our summer is starting to fall into place. Summer is a wonderful time, of course, and we all look forward to it here. For those of us who have to hire sitters or pay for camps, it is also an expensive time, and I feel for families who have fewer resources available to them than we do.

It’s really important to me that our children get to relax and enjoy their summer, while also having some structure. So my husband and I will take some time to be at home, and I am making other arrangements to make sure it will be a good summer for our boys.

~4~

On our trip to the Maryland Zoo we had the chance to see the new baby giraffe, Willow. She is so cute, and she even posed for a few photos for us. I wonder what she thinks of all of us. I know what we thought of her. (PHOTO)

We always enjoy our trips to the Zoo, even though we don’t go often. This time we also saw the new grizzly bears. 

And we saw the cheetahs and the sign near their area that says, “Adopt Me!” I found myself explaining yet again that you can’t actually adopt a cheetah, and that the sign is using “adopt” to mean something very different from what we experience in our family. For us, adoption means a forever family. For the relationship with the cheetah, adoption means making a donation to the zoo to help care for the cheetah. 

Sometimes I wish we could all agree just to use adoption to describe actual adoption. No one really adopts a highway. Few people adopt prairie dogs. But I am grateful that we had the chance to talk again about adoption in a spontaneous way.

~5~

Leo and I made it to Confession at the Baltimore Basilica on Good Friday. 

I took him along for the Stations of the Cross, but I didn’t expect him to go to Confession again since he had just gone with his class three days earlier. But he decided to go again, and I loved it.

Afterward, he said, “I think the priest was surprised when I said I had been to Confession three days ago.”

I bet he was.

~6~

One of the boys fell off his bicycle yesterday. He’s fine, and he’s determined to get back on his bicycle, but he ended up with the first scrapes of the season. Somehow a scraped knee feels like one of the signs that summer is right around the corner.

~7~

This week has brought some beautiful spring weather, so we have been blowing dandelion heads and making wishes.

I love all the blossoms on the trees, but the dogwoods this year are so vibrant and delicate. 

Have you ever used a dogwood tree to talk about Jesus’ crucifixion?  I need to do this tomorrow.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend!

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.