The second part of our vacation in Wisconsin

After my siblings and their families came back in town, we spent most days and nights together. Mike went over to Jen and J’s new house to work a couple of the days. And I hear they had great Mexican food one of those days. One of the evenings we enjoyed a tasty meal over at Ger and Lauren’s home and another afternoon we celebrated Lauren’s birthday at Jen and Jason’s. Other highlights included opening presents, lots of football/soccer outside for cousins, tons of game-playing, some decorating of cookies, lots of music-making (including a concert for all), and celebrating New Years Eve together. Scattered throughout our time together were little bouts of sicknesses and some covid tests (just to be sure – all negative), but nothing could damper our time together. It was just so much fun!

Decorating cookies:

Making music:

Eating and laughing at Ger and Lauren’s. The best was teaching Salina knock, knock jokes and Eddie’s not-quite-interrupting interrupting cow jokes:

Celebrating Aunt Lauren’s birthday:

Playing games:

Opening presents (including handmade blankets for each grandchild):

Celebrating the New Year (We made crepes and then enjoyed lots of musical numbers – uke, trombone and cello; piano duets; piano solos; and marble works trumpet-playing. E stayed up and played a game with his uncles and Dad until we all toasted the New Year at midnight):

Various pictures from the week together that don’t fit nicely in a category: Salina worked on her part of the Christmas jammy shirt for Grandpa. Ethan was able to help at Aunt Jen’s warehouse when a shipment came in. I understand he worked hard and did a nice job. He was pretty excited about the whole thing! Lots of block-building, reading together, marble run-making, and puzzles. And I often found E and Grandpa discussing birds, photography or (in this case) plants for the backyard to attract more birds and get better pictures. =D And the picture of Eddie and Mike reminds me of Eddie telling Uncle Mike that he was going to order three things from the restaurant – one of which was beer. That kid knows how to make people laugh.

Enjoying a little extra time together on the first day of the new year when our flight was cancelled:

And, finally, I will conclude with a few of my favorite posed (or silly or we-just-have-to-check-out-that-picture-we-just-took) pictures from the week. Sadly, the one day we caught Grandpa in his new shirt Salina was not at the house with her jammies. So, we snapped some pics with Grandpa and all of his grandsons this time. Thankfully we did get some pics of all the grandkids together a different day.

Hopefully these pics capture the joy of being together over the holiday season. We sure had a great time!

Christmas Reunion in Michigan

Our crew flew into Grand Rapids on Friday afternoon, grabbed some dinner to go and then drove about 45 minutes to the CRC conference grounds where we met up with the rest of my extended family (on my Mom’s side) for a weekend of fun at the cottages.

The set up here is absolutely lovely. We stay in one cottage with my bro and his family. My sister and her family stay with my folks in another. And the rest of the Fennema clan stay in four other cottages all in a row. Our boys can roam from one home to the next visiting people all weekend. We always spend a few hours all together in a large rented room for meals, games, and opening gifts. (Yes, this is the time we sing at least 32 rounds of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” so that each person is wished a Merry Christmas from the whole group.) We also usually get out for a hike at least once. It’s one of our favorite parts of the Christmas season.

Here’s a look at life in the various cottages. Eddie (3) sang two verses of “How Firm a Foundation” while strumming away on the ukulele. Tears.

Auntie Lauren worked with the kids in our cottage to make our Christmas gift for my dad: a new jammy t-shirt with handprints from all of his grandkids. She worked with Salina when we were back in Wisconsin.

Hiking to Lake Michigan:

A few pics from the conference grounds:

Pics from the whole crew together:

And the formal pics for the year with my Grandpa (95):

This special time was definitely a highlight from the couple of weeks we spent with our fam in the Midwest. It was especially sweet since it didn’t happen last year. Wisconsin is up next…

Racine, WI

After our weekend in northwestern Wisconsin, Mike stayed there to work for the week and I drove the six-ish hours back to Racine to soak up some more time with the family. (On Friday, we drove to Omaha where we picked up Mike from the airport. The following day we drove home.) Our time in Racine was very laid back. Highlights at the house included building towers, playing the piano, Micah riding a motorcycle and the one-wheeler, dance parties galore, baking bread with Grandma, a tornado warning in the middle of the night, and playing ukulele and various games.

The boys did some birding with Grandpa – a very big highlight. We took a number of adventures to find frogs and crawfish with the cousins – so much fun – and enjoyed a night at the bike races with the whole crew.