This year we drove down to Maryland to visit Phil's side of the family for our April break. Phil normally does ALL the driving EVERYWHERE but upon reaching his brother's house, realized he had forgotten his wallet, and so I had to drive the Beast (12 passenger van) for the 3rd time ever. Jesus took the wheel and we all arrived back to his parent's house safely.
One of the main reasons we wanted to go for the visit was to meet our two beautiful nieces, Annabel and Anya. Xander held Anya for a record breaking five minutes before being done. That's an eternity of sitting still in a 6 year old world:
Maggie is in girl cousin heaven when we hang out with family. Sisters from another mister, these two, Maggie and Maeve.
We had some nice weather and were able to spend a lot of time outside, going for runs, hiking back to the creek, and playing all the sports. On Wednesday, all the family took the day off to hang out together, so fun!
|Seamus the Great (baby #8 in his family!)|
|Declan kept calling JoJo his "buddy"|
|The oldest Martin grandchildren. Maura is 7 months older than JP but they are practically personality twins.|
Some of the more entertaining kids put on a talent show for the crowd - complete with juggling, dancing, gymnastics, and basketball trick shots.
The adoring fans went wild :)
Here's all the cousins (I think!)
And the rest of the family!
On Thursday, Phil's parents took the older five kids to Baltimore to the Science Center and we took the little two with Phil's sister, Sr. Denise, to the Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg. Denise belongs to the Sisters of Charity, and they have a retirement home there. The older sisters all loved the (loud!) sounds of children during Mass and were so generous in serving us lunch after. It made me remember the joyous gift that (loud!) little children are to those around us and the smiles on the sisters' faces were little gifts from God to keep on keeping on. Ya hear that moms of littles - you are bringing joy into the world!!
Sweet treats for the little monkeys.
Denise is living in Texas now, doing great things for those seeking asylum at the bus station in San Antonio. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with her!
Friday was another day spent down at the creek (on Nana and Gramps' property). The kids play so well down here - making bridges and dams, claiming islands, and playing capture the flag for hours. It's a little like going back in time and I love it. Even my indoor-loving kids were happy to be out in the sunshine and fresh air with their kin.
|I did not wear the right hiking shoes.|
|Look at those roots!|
Not pictured - all the children who ended up IN the creek ;) Thank God for washing machines! We had an uneventful drive home and all feel refreshed and renewed to take on the remainder of the school year. There was only one Very Bad Day during the trip...but that's a story for another day. Tata for now!