Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Joys

Everything is beautiful in Southern Illinois right now, and it is impossible not to rejoice at the loveliness. I have no idea what the earth looks like at this time of year in Jerusalem where Jesus rose again, but here in the southern end of our state, nature seems to be applauding his resurrection. Jeannie and three children arrived Good Friday morning a little after seven after a harrowing trip down from Freeport through rain storms and fog. After an hour or so of sleep before Cecelie tried to join her in her bedroom, she was up for the rest of the day. She loved seeing the spring season here that is ahead of the northern part of the state: the flowering trees and the lavish green abounding everywhere.

We enjoyed lots of grandchildren visits with kids coming and going. Some left to sleep over with local cousins and then back the next day for more adventures: dying eggs, making nests outside with the plants and field flowers, fishing, riding the "mule" and the Taylors' "gator," hiking at the lake, watching the ducks and martins, and spending a great deal of time on a new game the kids have made up. I don't really know what the rules are or what they call it, but every time they come lately, I see pieces of paper with clues left all over the house. I've been picking them up since the house emptied. Example: Clue 3 says, "Go to the place you will find a real, cool game that puzzles your mind." As I clean out the area downstairs that we call the "art room," I am always impressed at how much writing/drawing/reading/creating practice the kids have gotten as they enthusiastically play as hard as they can while they are together. They never seem to run out of ideas for play. (I almost forgot one weekend activity. On Friday afternoon while Gma Sue was keeping her hair appointment and then going for the pizza, Gpa was in charge. It was in the 80's and hot. He'd taken the kids to the island and other such doings when he later saw them near the water's edge. He didn't have the heart to make them get out of the water when they couldn't resist getting in--street clothes and all. Some kids were washing their clothes in the machine in the garage when I brought the pizza home. I guess starting the swimming season early wasn't too bad a thing.)

Add to the mix of grandkids. the Taylors' dog named Fifi and the Eilers' dog named Lucky, and there is a lot going on when our family gathers. Rick did not get to come down with Jeannie as he coaches tennis as well as teaching math at the high school, and he had a tennis match to attend on Saturday. Since he also cared for their dog Leah, who has just given birth to six Shit-zu puppies, the kids here were really disappointed he and those seven dogs did not come. Everyone had wanted to see these babies.

Special weekend highlights included celebrating Samuel's ninth birthday with cake, several of the kids going to the Easter egg hunt on the lawn at Center Church, Lige and Trent playing by the creek at Wayside where they had spent Friday night in the Taylor camper, the women and girl cousins attending the baby shower for their cousin Tara up at Gerry and Vickie's house, meeting their Taylor cousins' other grandmother--G'ma Dot here from Florida, listening to Leslie sing, and finally worshipping together on Easter Sunday at Center.

We met the three Notre Dame softball players that came home with Erin at the shower on Saturday afternoon, but with warnings of possible storms, they left right after early morning worship at West Frankfort. Although I would have loved for them to be here with the other 18 family members for Sunday dinner, after hearing about the Eiler family's travel through the storm, I was relieved they did not delay leaving for their long trip back to northern Indiana. They were playing at Northwestern today.

We finished Sunday evening watching old videos, so Bryan Archibald could see Tara at age ten pitching and batting in the Marion park with her arm in a cast. Brian Taylor arrived back to join us after delivering his mother--G'ma Dot--to the airport in Saint Louis. Finally whoever was still here had a late night meal of leftovers from dinner. (I am still serving leftovers to Gerald and putting some in the freezer.)

We now have two Brian/Bryans in the family, but at least their names are spelled differently. Brian Taylor had started farming up at Wayside on Friday, and he stayed over to work at the farm on Monday. The fields are disked, and the anhydrous is on.

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