The Road to Easter…

Edit: This is an old one from Holy Week 2010. It was definitely one of our most memorable Holy Weeks to date. Chock full of Hough-insanity… lol Enjoy!

I am honestly not quite sure how to begin. I guess I will begin at the beginning. It seems to be the best place to start! A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I decided to take the kids on a little road trip to Father Larry’s church in Erie for part of Holy Week. We never do things like this for many reasons. One being that to take our entire family anywhere overnight involves a lot of careful planning. The logistics are complicated and it is quite an undertaking. But we thought that it would be a fun little thing to do with the kids and make Holy Week really special. We also thought that it would be a great way to make some memories as a family. Well, we definitely made some memories, not all good, but all were unforgettable!

Ironically, at the beginning of Lent I had made a little poster to track our Lenten journey as a family. The theme of the poster was “The Road to Easter!” Pretty appropriate seeing as how we ended Lent “on the road.”
Once we had decided that we were definitely going to do it, I went online and made all of the arrangements. I took very special care to book a hotel with a nice indoor pool so that the kids could swim. After a lot of debating we decided to book two adjoining rooms in the hotel that we had stayed in last summer. We knew that even though the hotel was a little bit more expensive than the others, it was clean and had a really nice pool. The kids were so excited to be able to swim. It was all that we heard about from the time that we told the kids our plans. Every morning Gianna would wake up and ask me how many more “sleeps” it was until we went to the hotel to swim.
I had planned out my week in preparation for the big trip. I had started to pull out some of the kids’ summer clothes to pack. I dug out the suitcases and made some lists for everything that we would need. But I didn’t want to actually pack anything until Wednesday. That way I could put everything in the suitcases and take them right out to the van and we would be ready to go. The plan was for me to pick up Isaac and Hannah from school at 2:00 and DJ, Coley and Jake at the highschool at 2:15. We would then head to Butler to meet Brian at work at around 3:30 and be on our way to Erie. We planned to have enough time to check into the hotel and be at Holy Thursday mass at 6:30. We had it all planned out, but you know what they say about plans. Men plan and God laughs. Well, let’s just say that God had a fair share of laughter at our expense!
Wednesday morning I called the doctor’s office to talk to the nurse about Aiden. He was still struggling with a bout of pnuemonia. His breathing wasn’t getting any better and he had been on medication and breathing treatments for over a week with no relief. When I talked with the nurse, she talked to the doctors and they felt that he needed to go down to Children’s Hospital to the ER. They felt that he might need to be put into a tent thingy to help his breathing. While I was obviously worried about Aiden, I had a bad feeling that this was going to put a major kink into our trip plans. I packed some clothes just in case they wanted to keep him overnight. I was hoping that by being prepared and taking clothes, we wouldn’t need them. Brian met us in Kittanning and my mom came out to stay with the other kids. We were off to Pittsburgh. After a lot of waiting around and another round of chest x-rays, we were (thankfully) sent home. According to the doctor, Aiden’s pnuemonia was actually clearing up. His wheezing was from an infection that he had developed in addition to the pnuemonia. Poor little guy! We were told to keep doing what we were doing and see the doctor again the next week. (Insert HUGE sigh of relief here!) Yay! He was slowly getting better and the trip was still on! We stopped to pick up pizza on our way home to celebrate Jake’s real 13th birthday. By the time we got home and ate and cleaned up after dinner it was bathtime and bedtime. I got up early the next morning and started to pack. I was way behind because of our unexpected trip to Children’s. I lined up the suitcases and started to fill them. We were only going to be gone for a day…what would we need? Jammies, undies, bathing suits, church clothes and one extra outfit to wear to the beach. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but for 10 people, it is!! Not to mention, diapers, wipes, the nebulizer and medication, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shoes, etc…It took a little bit longer than I thought. I was also trying to clean up so that when we got home on Friday, we weren’t greeted by a huge mess. Yeah right! I had to get everything ready for the pets also. Way too many things to have to do in a very short amount of time, especially because the little ones were messing things up as I went along! I was finally to the point where I was starting to make some headway when the phone rang. I checked the caller id…West Shamokin High school. Now that is NEVER good. I tentatively answered the phone. It was the school nurse. DJ had slammed into the dividing wall in gym class during a raucous game of dodgeball and split his knee open. She was about 95% sure that he was going to need stitches. Oh great. We were supposed to leave for Erie in less than an hour and now I was going to have to make a pitstop at the ER…for the second day in a row. AHHHH! And you know that pitstops at the ER never take less than 3 hours. I was now in complete panic mode as I frantically ran around finishing the packing and loading the van. I took care of the animals and locked up. Unfortunately the closest thing to cleaning that I got done was to make sure that there wasn’t any food sitting out. Oh well…OK, now I had to pick up the little kids from the elementary school and then head to the highschool to pick up the big kids. We were off, like a herd of dysfunctional turtles, but we were off nonetheless! After I collected all of the kids we went to my mom and dad’s house. My mom had volunteered to keep all of the kids while DJ and I headed to the hospital. ( Thank you mom!!) But on the way into town I realized that in my haste, I had forgotten a few key survival things; the Garmin ( for directions), the portable DVD player(for our sanity in the van) and the pack ‘n play (for a good night’s sleep). So not good… My brother lent us his DVD player so things started to get a little bit better. And then my mom offered her Garmin and pack ‘n play. Things were definitely looking up! I took the Garmin, but declined the pack ‘n play. I figured that it wasn’t worth the hassle. Aiden could just sleep with Brian and I. He’s pretty little, right? How much space could he really need? ( Ummm for the record, a lot of space! The kid is like a kickboxing octopus while he sleeps!)
It was time to get in and out of the ER as quickly as possible. I knew that we were in for a wait when the triage nurse told us that there were 6 people ahead of us and they had no empty beds. Oh boy! Poor DJ was really nervous about the whole stitches thing and he felt terrible about messing up our plans. I kept telling him that it wasn’t a big deal and we would get to Erie whenever we got there, no problem. But I was hoping that we would be able to get there in time for Holy Thursday mass at 6:30, although it was not looking good. After 2 hours in the waiting room, they finally called us back to the sutures room. The school nurse was right; DJ needed 5 stitches in his knee. Thankfully it was a nice clean gash, no jagged edges, so it was pretty easy to stitch. DJ however looked slightly panicked. After everything that he went through during his treatments, shots, bone marrow aspirations, spinal taps, he is very needle phobic. And I don’t blame him one bit! We walked out of the hospital at 6:30 (three hours after we arrived!). We were going to miss mass, but I was determined to keep a positive attitude about everything, especially since DJ felt so guilty. We headed back to my mom’s to pick up the other kids and we were off…again.
We arrived at the VNA in Butler at about 7:00 to pick up Brian. After I caught him up to speed with what was going on, we decided to pick up some dinner and eat on the road. The kids voted and we ended up going to Long John Silvers/A&W. Everyone was so hungry that for the first 15 minutes or so, the van was very uncharacteristically quiet. Nice! The other good thing about all of the stops that we had to make was that it broke up the trip so it didn’t seem like such a long time in the car for the kids. By the time they were all finished eating, we only had about an hour of driving left! Really nice!
We pulled up to the hotel at a little after 9:00. The kids were so excited about getting up and going swimming first thing in the morning! I went in to register and was greeted by a very friendly clerk. She happily took my credit card and swiped it through and then said, “Oh by the way, you ARE aware that the pool is closed, aren’t you?” She caught me off guard because I assumed that she meant right then, because it was so late. “Sure, I said. That’s not a problem.” And then as she handed me our room keys I said, ” You mean closed for the night right? “I am thinking, “Oh please, please, please just mean closed for the night!” She smiled brightly as she said, “NO it’s closed until Monday for some renovations.” I was so suprised that I just nodded dumbly and walked out to the van to face the kids. By this time, they were all bouncing out of their seats. How in the world was I going to tell them that there would be no swimming? This was what they had looked forward to all week! I opened the door and climbed back into the van. I looked at Brian and softly said, “The pool is closed until Monday.” He replied, (not so softly, mind you) “WHAT?! Is this an April fools joke?! Please tell me that this is an April fools joke. ” I looked him in the eye and said, ” I would not joke about such things! Especially at 9:00 at night!” The kids all seemed to realize what was going on. I braced myself for the wailing and gnashing of teeth that I was sure was coming. But….Nothing. Not a crying, complaining kid in the bunch! I don’t know if they were just too tired to care, or they realized that there wasn’t anything that we could do about it, or what, but they just said ok. Thank heavens!! I silently sent up a little prayer of thanksgiving for my wonderful kids. I told Brian where our rooms were and we pulled around to the back parking lot. After a few trips back and forth between the van and our rooms, we were finally unloaded. I figured that since we weren’t going to be swimming in the morning, we might as well get all of the kids bathed before we went to bed. Then we would have one less thing to deal with in the morning. The nice thing about having two rooms, is having two bathrooms! (a luxury that we do not have at home!)  I put Hannah and Gianna into the bathroom in our room and headed over to the boys’ room to get Isaac and Noah started. I turned on the water and Isaac hopped into the tub. I turned around to help Noah take his shirt off and I noticed IT! IT was a creepy, yucky, wiggling tick embedded in his little arm!! Oh My Gosh!! I tried to very calmly call Brian into the room. I didn’t want to freak out Noah because I knew that no matter what, I was going to have to pull that little bloodsucker out of his arm. Brian came into the bathroom. “What?” he asked. I just pointed to it. The look that he gave me pretty much summed up what I was thinking. That look said, “are you freakin’ kidding me?!” “Ok, no time to panic. Just get it out. ” That is what I kept saying to myself. I remembered reading somewhere to put vaseline on a tick to smother it. It is supposed to suffocate it and then it loosens up it’s grip and you can just pull it out. Well, we didn’t have any vaseline, but we did have liquid soap. That should basically do the same thing. I put some soap on his arm and dug out my spare tweezers. And then I did it. I just grabbed that little bugger and pulled it out. Yes! Success! I checked it to make sure that the head was still attached to the tick and not still in Noah’s arm. Thankfully it looked good. Another silent prayer of thanksgiving and then I flushed the nasty thing!
Hannah and Gianna snuggled into their big bed. Not a whole lot of room left for Coley…
Bubba was ready for a good nights sleep.
DJ with his stitches all wrapped up.  Poor guy!

Once that was taken care of, I sat down with Aiden to do his breathing treatment. It went relatively smoothly. I had given him a bath and thought that if I laid him down and nursed him that he would just drift off to sleep. Yeah right! Not quite. He would not lay down or nurse and he was definitely not drifting off to sleep. He was wide awake and totally wound up from the albuterol. Not good. If you have never seen a baby on albuterol, try to picture this: stand up, sit down, crawl to wall, bang head on wall, walk along wall, squeal as loudly as possible, fall down, stand up, walk to bed, bang head off of bed, you want to be picked up, you want to be put down, you want a drink, you throw your sippy cup…and on and on. You get the idea. Everyone else drifted off to sleep, but that was so not happening for Aiden or me. And then Noah decided to join in the fun. Apparently he couldn’t sleep in the boys’ room because it was “scawy” in there and he didn’t want to sleep with DJ. He really wanted to sleep with Brian and I but we already had Aiden in bed with us ( thanks to my brilliance in forgetting the pack ‘n play!). Finally I just let him crawl into our bed and when he finally fell asleep at around 1:30 am, I moved him into his bed. Aiden finally calmed down enough that he fell asleep at around 2:00 am, but he is a very fittful sleeper. Like I said before, it was like sleeping with a kickboxing octopus! Needless to say I was not very well rested when I woke up at 7:00.

Here is Aiden in the midst of his jitteriness. I think that it was about 12:45 am here.

Jake
Daddy and Aiden getting for a snack before turning in for bed.
I went through the suitcases and got everything ironed and ready for the day. I then repacked everything back up to get loaded back into the van. Was it really worth it? At this point I was seriously questioning it. Brian and I said, more than once, that we would NEVER do this again! Brian and Jake headed out to get some food for breakfast. Since it was Good Friday, we would abstain from meat and also fast, meaning two half meals and one whole meal with no eating in between. Obviously the little kids did not need to fast but Brian and the three older kids and I did. This actually made the food situation for the day pretty easy! While Brian and Jake were out at the store, I decided to hop into the shower and start to get ready. While I was in the shower the kids decided to play “office.” They were sitting at the desk, writing on the little hotel notebook while pretending to be at work. It was very cute until the phone rang. I answered the phone rather hesitantly. What in the world could it be now? “Hello?” I say. “Ma’am this is the front desk I have the 911 dispatcher on the line. Someone dialed 911 from your room. Is everything ok?” says the voice on the other line. I try to calmly reply, “Oh, I am so sorry, one of the kids must have bumped the 911 button accidentally. We are fine.” I am thinking, “you might want to send a coroner in about 5 minutes because I’m about to kill someone!” “Thank you Ma’am. We just have to check these things out.” says the voice. “Oh sure! So sorry again!” I say as I hang the phone up. I turn toward the kids who have all grown very quiet, looking at me questioningly. “Who….dialed…911?” I ask. “Not me!” “It wasn’t me!” “What’s 911?” were their responses as they went back to what they had been doing. They were looking at eachother like, “There goes mom again, being all crazy! Gees!”
Thankfully Brian and Jake came back then with breakfast for all. We all happily ate and discussed the plans for the day. Again, I am not sure why we would even try to plan because that doesn’t seem to go so well for us, but we aren’t quitters! We don’t give up! Ok maybe, we just don’t take a hint! Regardless, the plans were as follows: load up van, head to Presque Isle to eat our 1/2 lunch, go to St Joseph’s church for Good Friday services, go back to Presque Isle to play on the beach, go to dinner and head home. Totally subject to change, obviously! One thing that having children has taught me is to be flexible. I think that in general, I have learned this lesson quite well, but sometimes, even I am challenged to point when I think I might just snap in half. Anyway, those were the original plans…
Things went pretty much as planned until we got to church. We loaded up the van, went Presque Isle, ate our lunch in the van as we looked at the water. There were a ton of boats and kayaks out on the water. The kids enjoyed watching all of that. It was a nice and peaceful lunch. We headed to church. Things were looking up. We had a whole hour and half without an incident! Woo hoo!
While we were driving to the church, there were at least two different times that we happened to notice people counting how many kids we had in our van. I don’t understand that. The one lady we actually heard count, “5, 6, 7 and 8! Eight children! Oh my!” Whatever. I guess it does seem like a lot of kids to most people, but honestly it doesn’t to us. At least most of the time, it doesn’t. They are our children. They belong in our family and it feels really weird if even one is missing. We just are who we are and when people question that or seemingly judge that, the mama bear in me comes out. And I just want to shield my kids from the rude comments. When people question the number of children that we have I look at their sweet faces and think which one or two or 5 shouldn’t be here? Which ones shouldn’t be part of our family? That is just ridiculous. If you want to judge us, at least have the decency to keep your snarky comments to yourself when the kids are around. OK now that I got that off of my chest, back to our adventure…
We arrived at St Joseph’s church and parked in the parking lot. I know that this may sound weird, but I love that part, because we are not the only 12 passenger van there! They have many families with 6-10 children in them. For once we feel like we belong. We aren’t the crazy family with a ton of kids. We are just one of many crazy families with a ton of kids. It’s nice to feel normal sometimes! We walked into the church and slid into a pew. This church is one of the most beautiful churches that I have ever been in. Every mural, every statue, every detail is just gorgeous. Part of that beauty comes from the beautiful spirit of the parishioners. It is a church in which you can truly feel the spirit alive in it. You just feel welcome and at home there. That is why we had planned this little road trip in the first place!
About 1/3 of the way into the Good Friday service (Notice I said service and not mass. This is the only day of the year that mass is not said anywhere in the entire world.) Aiden started to act up. He has started to get progressively worse everytime that we go to church. He gets a little bit noisier and fidgety. At those times, the best thing to do is just take him to the back of the church and try to get him to calm down. Or at least put him down and let him walk around a little bit to get the wiggles out. While I was back there, there was another mother with a little one doing the same thing. She was about 7 months pregnant and wrestling with a very active little boy. We shared a knowing look as we each tried to keep our little guys quiet. Finally Aiden had calmed down to the point that I was able to take him back into the main part of the church and we participated in the solemn beauty of the Good Friday service as we kissed the cross and reflected on the huge sacrifice that Christ made for each and every one of us. At the close of the service Father Larry invited everyone to stay and participate in the Divine Mercy Chaplet followed by the sacrament of Confession as well as a tenebrae service at 8:00 that evening. Time to readjust our plans! After a quick discussion, I took the little kids, from Isaac down out to the van for a little snack and a dvd of the Passion of Christ for kids. Brian stayed in the church with the older 3 for the chaplet and confession. When they were down and came out to the car, I went in for confession. It seemed like a great addition to our plans. Ironically, the pregnant mother from the back of the church happened to be parked right beside us. Her and her husband had decided to tag team as well! We had about 20 minutes or so to chat. She was so sweet and even invited all of us back to their house for some homemade pizza. I thanked her for such a generous offer, but we had promised to take the kids to the beach to play in the sand, so I declined. But I was truly appreciative of her offer, especially since there are so many of us!
After we were all finished with confession we headed back to Presque Isle. This time we were ready to actually get out the car and enjoy the beach. As we were walking along the beach, Gianna slipped her little hand into mine and sighed. “Ahhhh, isn’t sand sooo wonderful mommy?” she asked. “Yes it is!” I replied. About 5 minutes later Hannah informed us that she needed to go to the bathroom. Of course she did, because it’s not like we can be anywhere for more than five minutes before somebody has to pee! I looked at Coley with my desperate pleading eyes silently begging her to take Hannah to the bathroom. She sighed, “Fine, come on.” Gianna then said that she needed to go too. The three of them headed toward the bathroom. About 3 minutes later they were back with bad news. The bathrooms were locked. Uh-oh! Time to take matters into my own hands. “Come on girls.” I say. I told them to get into the van. My plan was to drive to the far end of the parking lot where there weren’t any cars and park blocking the girls from view and let them just pee in the woods. Well, we climbed into the van and I started it up and put it into dirve and we went nowhere. We were stuck in the sand. Seriously!? Who gets stuck in the sand? Well, the Houghs do, obviously! At this point we had no time to deal with this. We climbed back out of the van and took a quick hike into the woods. We were sufficiently blocked from view, it was time to pee. I had kleenex and wipes. They would be just fine. Yeah, well even though we live in the country, Gianna and Hannah are anything but country girls. The idea of peeing outside invoked tears and screaming. “I am NOT a boy! I DON’T want to pee like a boooooooy!” Finally I just said, “You don’t have a choice. It’s pee here in the woods or pee your pants. You decide. ” Hannah was at the point where she had no choice and the thought of peeing her pants must have been a smidgen worse than peeing outside and she finally gave in. “Fine! But I am not a boy and I do not like to pee like one,” she indignantly said. Hannah’s shirt was long so I had her take her shorts and underwear off and just squat down. She was horrified, but at the point of no return. Seeing all of this, Gia looked at me and said, “I’ll just hold it. I don’t have to go that bad.” There was no way that she was going to be a part of this! I got Hannah cleaned up and dressed. We started to walk back to the beach, her dignity slowly becoming restored. She looked at me and quietly said, “Thanks mom.” And then turned to run down the beach to where Brian and the other kids were. I heaved a sigh of relief, although it was temporary. We were still going to have to figure out a way to get the van out of the sand. But for now I wanted to enjoy the wonderful feeling of the sand too. We had a great time playing in the sand and skipping rocks and looking for shells. It was a lot of fun and the kids actually managed to stay relatively clean.

 Noah was loving the sand!

Mommy and Aiden. He was not such a happy camper.

Ice still in the Lake! Crazy since everyone was running around in shorts. No swimming!

My beautiful girls, Hannah, Coley and Gianna

Aiden was loving the sand, although not so fond of eating the sand! As he would wipe his mouth off, he would just get more sand in his mouth. So he would wipe his mouth again. It was a vicious cycle!
Noah digging in the sand looking for shells

Aiden was trying out his new walking skills on the uneven beach.

Aiden and Daddy

Testing the water…too cold!

 

Going for a stroll.
My lovely brood
Gianna
Dj was hobbling along with his sore knee
Hannah making sand angels
My teenagers! Aren’t they so cute?
He’s so weird…
Isaac collecting rocks to skip
Skipping rocks
Me and my Sweet Boy

 

The Eight biggest blessings in my life: Aiden, Noah, Gianna, Hannah, Isaac, Jacob, Coley and DJ
After an enjoyable trip to the beach it was time to face our next hurdle; how were we going to get the van out of the sand? Brian and Jake tried to push the van out while I drove. No luck. Bubba thought that he might be able to help since DJ couldn’t ( due to his stitches). Even though he is a very strong seven year old, he just wasn’t quite strong enough to help push our massive 12 passenger beast van out. Finally a really nice guy came and helped the “men” push and we were able to get out! Not so silent prayers of thanksgiving sent up to heaven! The van had sunk about 8 inches down in the sand and with rearwheel drive, it was challenging to say the least! But we were back in business.
It was time to have some dinner. We were all really hungry, especially since we had been fasting all day. We wanted to find a family friendly place and we settled on Eat ‘n Park. We plugged the address into the Garmin and we were off! When we were waiting to be seated, I heard it start again. “One, two, three…seven, eight!! Oh my word! Eight children can you imagine!?” Sigh. Seriously?! Can’t we just walk in and sit down to eat without being counted? I wasn’t the only one who heard it. When Brian heard the second table start counting us, he waited until the man said “eight.” And then the poppa bear came out in him. He stopped and turned to the man and said, “Yes. Eight. You are right. We have eight kids. ” The man shocked us and said, “How wonderful! What a beautitful family you have!” OK , so now we felt a little bit bad about being annoyed. I guess that all of the “counters” aren’t bad or judgemental. Some are just pleasantly suprised and I guess with good reason. We do have a family that sticks out most places, but that’s ok. We just need to remember what a blessing it is and sometimes other people realize that too! When were seated and the waitress took our order, she asked the inevitable question, “Are they all yours?” Umm, I love kids and all, but I don’t know of anyone in their right mind that would take 8 kids to a restaurant if they didn’t belong to them! But again we were shocked by her genuinely kind response to our “Yes.” She said “How beautiful! What a blessing!” She then continued to suprise us when she came back and told us that several of the other customers had commented to her about how well behaved and lovely our kids were. I was so proud and humbled. It’s easy to assume the worst in people, but thankfully that isn’t always so! She then delighted the kids when she returned with a dozen of smiley face Easter bunny cookies for us to take home! With our bellies full and our spirits lifted, we headed back to St Joseph’s for the tenebrae service. The way that Father Larry did the tenebrae service was that it was basically the stations of the cross in the dark with scripture readings with each one. It was beautiful. The kids really enjoyed it. Brian and I even got to fully participate because Noah and Aiden (our X factors) both fell asleep and slept through the entire thing!  Prayers of thanksgiving yet again! After the service was over, we were finally on the road headed back home.  Thankfully our trip home was fairly uneventful. We were all sound asleep by midnight.
The next morning was Holy Saturday. Brian and I had alot to do. We had to be at church in Kittanning at 10:00 am for practice for the Easter Vigil mass. We had been truly honored by being asked to stand as godparents for our friend Steve as he joined the church. The Easter Vigil mass was when his Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion would take place. It started at 8:30 pm and lasted about 2 1/2 hours. It was beautiful but long, which is why we did not take the kids with us. While the kids were disappointed to not be able to go, they had stuff that they worked on while we were gone. They finished coloring eggs and decorated sugar cookies.
Let the egg decorating and cookie baking begin!
My little cookie baker at work mixing up icing
He’s just causing all kinds of mess, starting with the marker around his mouth.
Brian and Steve and I at the Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil was an amazing experience to be a part of! Brian and I were so thankful to be a part of Steve’s Journey. It was wonderful to see Steve baptized into the church and confirmed. It was truly awesome to see him receive Holy Communion for the first time. Thank you, thank you Steve for asking us to be a part of this!!! I kept joking with Steve that I was going to bring a huge banner that said “YAY STEVE!” on it. Since I didn’t, I’ll just say it now. “YAY STEVE!!!!”
By the time we got home it was about 11:00pm. The little ones were sleeping and the older three were waiting for us to get home so that they could go to sleep also. I still had a mountain of church clothes to iron and baskets of Easter bunny things to prepare. It was about 2:00 when I finally went to sleep. At around 6:00 we heard the pitterpat of little feet coming to wake us up to check and see what the big bunny may have left behind.  Soooo not enough sleep, but I’m getting used to it! After watching everyone check out their baskets, I started our traditional big Easter breakfast. It’s not as intense as the big Christmas breakfast, but it’s still a nice spread of food. I made the cinnamon rolls, bacon , sausage and eggs and we ate. Once we were all dressed and in the van I heaved a sigh of relief. Easter Sunday is not a day to be late for church. If you get there less than 1/2 hour before Mass, you will pretty much have to stand in the back for Mass. We made it to church by about 10:30 and Missy and Steve were there and had been sweet enough to save us a row of seats. (Thanks Guys!) We had plenty of room, which was great. Unfortunately Aiden was a major cranky pants. I ended up having to take him to the basement of the church and nurse him until he fell asleep. I made it back upstairs for the last half of Mass. The music, the flowers, the people…it was a beautiful. He is Risen! He is Risen INDEED!
After mass we headed to my Mema and Poppy’s house for Easter dinner. It was tons of food, family and fun! There was an Easter egg hunt for the kids. The weather was perfect for the kids to play outside. The day was going wonderfully, at least for the time being…
Here it is…the annual Hough Family Easter picture. We clean up pretty well, if I do say so myself!
Here are my handsome young men!
 And my lovely ladies!
Mama and her grandkids (missing Dylan)
Aiden and Mama during the egg hunt at Mema and Poppy’s house
Coley  helping Noah and Gia find some eggs.
My beautiful goddaughter Isabella with her egg hunt findings
Here is the lovely Miss Abbagail with her egg. She was so cute when she found a yellow egg, she kept squealing, “I found two yellow eggs! They match!!” So cute!
The sweet little Francesca
After a lot of fun at Mema and Poppy’s house it was time to pack up and head to Brian’s mom’s house for Easter Dinner and egg hunt #2.  Noah came running into the house crying. Jake was right behind him and said that Noah said that his nose hurt. When I looked at his nose it was bleeding a little bit. I asked him what had happened and he kept saying something about a rock, but he was crying so it was kind of hard to understand him. Finally I realized that he was saying there was a rock up inside of his nose!! I put him up on the counter and Mema gave me a flashlight. Sure enough, wedged in there was a little pebble. Brian came over and suggested having him blow his nose, but like most three year olds, he hasn’t quite mastered the art of nose blowing. I was concerned that if he tried to blow his nose he would actually breath in through his nose instead of out. That would be very bad. After looking up his nose for a few minutes, Brian and I decided that it was time for ER trip #3. Sigh…But when Noah heard that we were going to take him to the hospital he started to freak out and asked Brian to get it out himself. I must admit that this made me kind of nervous. Brian has, on many occasions, admitted that he hates dealing with these kind of things. Loose teeth, bloody noses, shots, he hates all of those kind of things. Thankfully when he started to slowly put the tweezers into Noah’s nose it tickled a little bit and he sneezed. The rock came out! Woohoo! Good job honey! I was so relieved. Haha!! ER trip #3 avoided…at least for now! You might be wondering as I did, why in the world he would put a rock up his nose. Well, when I asked him he said that he thought there was a “skeeto” up his nose so he put the rock in there to squish it. Of course! That makes perfect sense!
We were off to Joan’s house for another yummy Easter dinner and of course  the annual Easter egg hunt at Babee’s house. Once again, yummy food, great family and lots of fun as the kids went in search of eggs that could hold anything from candy to cash.
Here are the kids anxiously awaiting the green light to go!
Ready…Set…GO!!!
Gianna was showing Babee all of her candy and money from her eggs.
The “BIG KIDS” Breanna, DJ, Coley, Jake, and Kaylee
That  basically wraps up our Holy week and Easter adventures! The road was definitely filled with lots of detours and potholes, but we ultimately reached our destination. And we reached it in one piece, which I wasn’t so sure would happen when we first started out. But despite all of the problems that came up, it was definitely worth it in the end. We had a (mostly) great trip to Erie, some fun at the beach, lots of wonderful food and precious time with our families. We had hoped to create some memories and I am sure that we did just that. It would be ok if sometimes our life was a little bit less memorable, but what fun would that be?!   God Bless!!
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