Alleluia! He is risen! We were so blessed to be able to spend Easter with Paul's family in Wisconsin at Monica and Glenn's beautiful new home. Patrick drove to our house from college and rode with us, surviving five-plus hours of Minecraft discussion wedged in between the two booster seats in the back of our minivan. He's a boss.
The visit was just wonderful, in every way. We arrived to big smiles and hugs, and I finally got to hold my newest niece Evelyn! I can't believe this was the first time I have seen her in person. We went for a walk in the woods near their house and discovered a sculpture park that included statues of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, and St. Peter! Oh... and Abraham Lincoln and some gnomes and a wishing well. Quite the spread, I'd say. After our walk we returned home to pray the Stations of the Cross and start the Divine Mercy Novena. It was especially awesome and inspiring to hear about Liam's devotion to Divine Mercy... that kid's not a kid any more. Glenn fried up some fish and Monica served potato soup for dinner; I felt a little guilty for eating such delicious food on Good Friday!
Saturday we were treated to an amazing breakfast of baked French Toast and bacon, and then we all set off to see the lake. It was a quick walk to the shore, and I think the kids would have stayed there all day if we let them! Well, all except Audrey... apparently she's afraid of water. Oh well, there were plenty of arms to hold her. The boys collected several pounds of rocks and loaded them into the wagon to bring home, and Nathaniel had a great time throwing the rocks from the wagon on the way home, sending his big cousins scrambling to pick them up!
The menfolk went on an outing after we got back, and the little ones went down for naps. That left Grandma, Monica, Max, Lucian and myself. Max settled in to read books to Grandma while Lucian baked Resurrection Rolls with Monica. I wandered back and forth, watching and enjoying the time they got to spend together one-on-one.When Patrick got home he set up his slackline (a bit like a tightrope) and got pretty much everyone in the family to try it out, including Audrey! I hope I won't bore you with all my talk of food, but the food that weekend was incredible. Dinner Saturday was no exception; we feasted on Glenn's famous smoked carnitas. Um. Wow. Be jealous, be very jealous.
Easter Sunday was beautiful. Lucian and Max bounced out of the bedroom yelling "Alleluia!" "Jesus is Risen!" "We can finally say Alleluia again!" Incredibly, we were all ready to go and made it on time to 9:00 Mass. Ok, maybe it wasn't incredible for most of the family, but I was very impressed with us! I loved Monica and Glenn's church, the community seems very engaged and the priest is young and on fire. We sang as many Alleluias as we could have hoped for, and by some Easter miracle, both girls were very well-behaved. (Audrey made up for it this Sunday with ballerina twirls in the aisle. Yeesh.) The kids hunted for eggs and found their Easter baskets when we got home. Then they sat around eating candy and playing with their new wares while we drank coffee and enjoyed each others' company.
That night, there were card games (Six-handed five hundred! My brain cannot handle that many cards) and cigars (no, not me.) and lots of laughs. It was bittersweet, knowing we would be leaving the next day. Goodbyes are always hard, but the beauty of a goodbye is that it only happens because there was first a hello! We had a wonderful time breaking-in the new house, and thanks to the wonderful hosts we felt right at home.
Happy Easter to you all!