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!

The low-key first part of Wisconsin

On Sunday night, our crew drove back to Wisconsin to stay at my folks’ home. There we spent some delightful, low-key days, primarily just with Grandpa and Grandma (although we had some extra special days with Auntie Sal, too) We had a little bit of overlap time with the whole family the first part of that week, before my siblings headed out to spend time with their in-laws — in Michigan and in Chicago — for the Christmas weekend.

We played a lot of games – Codenames, Pinochle (which my mom used to play a lot and re-learned on the computer before teaching us), and Saboteur. It was funny to see how difficult it was for the boys to ever believe anyone could be bad in that game. Such sweet, trusting guys they are!

There was a lot of artwork done. Some cooking with Grandma. And lots of reading and relaxing.

On Christmas Eve, we worshipped together. Then we enjoyed our annual shepherd’s meal celebration. We did this inside this year since it was a little rainy. I think we’ve all decided inside is lovely. =D And then Mike and I watched “Scrooge” (aka A Christmas Carol) “with” my parents. This is a Christmas tradition (that Mike was apparently unaware of, despite being married to me for 15 years…). I grew up watching this black and white movie with my fam every year since it’s my dad’s favorite. The new tradition is to watch it while they sleep in the chairs surrounding us. Very memorable for all. =D

On Christmas morning we stayed in our jammies for a long time, ate delicious apple pancakes, and eventually watched the Packers game all snuggled up together.

Next up: more time in Wisconsin with the whole fam.

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.

Our time together was very sweet. Visiting Wisconsin and spending time with this crew is so very life-giving!

Red Cedar Lake, WI

Over the following weekend, we were invited to spend some time on Red Cedar Lake with friends from Mike’s job. We spent most of the time out on the boat enjoying the various water sport activities, but there was also reading, kayaking, badminton, bocce, s’mores, ukulele-playing, and off-roading in a golf-cart type vehicle. This lake was absolutely beautiful. Time here was a fun added bonus to our time in Wisconsin!