the rest of vacation. aka, a million pictures you probably don't want to see...

we left straight from work on thursday for our big wisconsin vacation. i weighed myself thursday morning. thursday is weigh in day. i lost 3 pounds. that makes 7 pounds in 3 weeks. my goal for the next week, vacation week is to not gain weight. i don't think that it is very reasonable to loose weight on vacation. but i could easily gain 7 pounds. and that would kill me.

we got the phone call of all phone calls on our way there. it changed our vacation drastically, it changed our lives drastically, but our vacation still went on. we made it to madison around 11. the check engine light on my little focus blaring at us. it only shuttered and died 3 times on the way there. cars. what a hassle. we trudged all of our stuff (a 10 day vacation, and plans to attend a wedding, a golf outing, and camp for 3 days, really makes for a lot of stuff. i mean a lot) in the front door, and up the stairs to katie's room (what a sweet 9 year old sister to give up her room for a whole 10 days to a couple of lugs like us).

patrick was there... oh patrick. i dropped my stuff and squeezed him. we had not seen patrick in sooo long, we were so glad to see him. matthew and his brother were reunited... now i could hear them talk really loud about sports in person instead of hearing matthew scream, and patricks muffled loud voice on the other end of the phone. all was as it should be for a moment, before we remembered the nightmare going on up north.

i have no pictures from the first part of our trip. none. i was walking around in a comatose state. torn between the joy of a family wedding and family members we only see once a year, and matthew's other family up north enduring tragedy, hurting, grief stricken.

friday we went to help package wedding favors. my father in law and brother in law had painstakingly baked over 400 cookies the day before. my father in law used to run the family bakery. the famous family sugar cookies made the perfect wedding favor. i had a slight pang of jealousy and a why didn't i think of that moment... it quickly passed. we went to a bridal luncheon while the boys golfed in a scramble. we went to the rehearsal dinner, and ate the most fabulous food, and enjoyed the company of family. we talked and ate and drank into the night.

matthew and patrick and i went out downtown for a short while after the dinner. it was just like old times. we talked and talked, and sang, and laughed, and remembered days past. i was friends with patrick before i even met matthew. and i missed patrick. he lives a lifetime away now, and i miss his friendship as much as matthew misses his brother. for a short while, it was like nothing ever changed, it was like everything was as it was meant to be. patrick and i laughed too loudly and talked to much... and made matthew a little embarrassed in public. matthew and patrick talked about life growing up, and about sports until they were blue in the face. it was like there was no lifetime between us, like there never had been.

the wedding on saturday was lovely. she was a lovely bride. the ceremony was perfection. donna and i cried... a little for the wedding, a little for the wilcox family, but tears fell just the same. the reception was a blast... elegant and fun, formal and casual, the perfect mix of celebration, party, and forever love. uncle paul sang johnny cash while the band was taking a break. as always, he stole the show.

patrick went home, and we took a day to sit, and think, and ready ourselves for the trip up north. monday, we had a day to do vacation.

we went to tour new glarus brewing company in new glarus, wi.
they just built a whole new complex. we walked into the gift shop. we were oogling all the glasses, and stickers and tee shirts, and bars of soaps made from beer. i can not explain to you how fantastic they smelled. i have regretted not buying each one since i left that building.

we were wandering around the gift shop trying to decide what we would get when the lady behind the cash register interrupted us. "you can go out through that door and tour the brewery... just walk right through there and you can walk around." we glanced at each other curiously. we can just walk around... what? "they are bottling today, you have to go see." we glanced curiously at each other again, and ventured through the door. really, no tour. we just walked around.
i could have watched that bottling all day. it was very interesting. i tried to take pictures between the cracks in the glass. i kind of like them.

we bought a pitcher and 6 glasses. we didn't buy soap. did i mention i regret not buying that soap. cause i really really do.

we drove to paoli next. paoli cheese is our favorite. matthew will not eat cheese curds from anywhere else. and just look at this building. it is teeny tiny. teeny teeny weeny. like a play house in the back yard, only better. better because it is filled with cheese.
just look at this place. could it be any more adorable? i'll answer for you. it couldn't.

"quiet please limburger sleeping." i do not like limburger cheese. the smell makes me gag. in denver there is a church that has a haunted house. the basement is supposed to be hell. hell smells terrible. someone once told me they make the hell smell with limburger cheese. no thank you to eating hell smell cheese.

monday night matthew, emma, and i drove to milwaukee to go see the brew crew. as i have said previously baseball is not my favorite sport, but i like the atmosphere at a baseball game. i like to watch people.

i wanted to sit in the cheap seats. mostly because i am cheap. we settled for mid range seats. they were the cheapest seats left, and i loved our seats, right behind home plate, right below the press boxes.

they had the roof closed at miller park. it was raining. they still set off fireworks with every homerun. they hit the ceiling. they set off extra fireworks with the grand slam. it made emma and i nervous.

america's favorite past time... my foot. matthew and patrick used to call it america's favorite waste of time. i tend to agree.

tuesday we headed to coleman, we headed to the wilcox's. i was nervous about meeting all of matthews friends and members of his second family before, now i was really nervous. sick to my stomach. patti met us in the driveway. when i hugged her, i didn't want to let go. i instantly felt at home, at peace, like i was part of the family.

bo gave us his room for our time there. he shared a room with peter, i don't know if he had slept in their room since the accident. he and ben both slept on the couch.

wednesday, i woke up feeling empty, lost. i knew this day would be one of the longest of my life. i met nearly everyone matthew had ever known. old friends and teachers, role models and kids all grown up. it was so great to get to meet everyone, to see so much of matthews life before me. again, i have no pictures. it was another strange comatose state, a friction of joy and sorrow.

peter was a patriot. he loved our country. he believed in it.

after we laid peter to rest, we had to go back home. we didn't want to leave. i felt so guilty the day we left. like i was the reason matthew wasn't going to be there with his family, his brothers, helping them heal, praying with them, laughing with them, crying with them. we shouldn't live so many hundreds of miles away. he should be here, where he belongs. and i cried again. how could we leave. how could we stay.

we went to mickey lu's on the way out of town. i have been waiting for this for 6 years. look at it in all it's red, white, and burger glory.

it was fabulous. see that hunk of butter on that burger. perfection. i wanted to eat 10 of them. i settled for one and a chocolate malt. we didn't stay long. it was hard to have fun, to enjoy life. someday it will be easy again. today wasn't the day.

we settled into the car and trekked back to my in-laws. our last couple days were spent mostly lounging around. breathing, trying to make peace before we went back to everyday life.

donna thought we should go experience the outdoors a little, since we didn't go camping. i agreed. matthew came along because he didn't have a choice. we came to this pretty park.

and to this pretty state park. there was a waterfall here... it was peaceful, serene, a retreat. we will go back there someday.

back to camp, and hike, and swim, and fish. back to feel God's presence in the midst of His creation.

before we knew it, it was the 4th of july and our vacation was drawing to a close. i love the 4th of july. i love the celebration of our freedom, remembering the lives dedicated to our country, the lives lost for our freedom. i love the heat, and the sticky air. the barbecues, and the watermelon. i love the summer banter, and time spent with family and friends. i love the sunburns and the smell of bug spray. i love the sparklers and the strollers and the fireworks. oh do i love the fireworks.

i love the grand finale the best. and this one was great.

our vacation went out with a bang. a big big bang.


  1. I love that we peruse each other's blogs and understand the importance of leaving a comment. I also love that you use the word "lugs;" it is so underrated.

  2. "like a play house in the back yard, only better. better because it is filled with cheese."

    "no thank you to eating hell smell cheese"

    You are hilarious!I'm glad you were still able to have some good times. That picture of Matthew looking tired and sad as he leans over on you is really something.

  3. I think the world is missing something when we are not all around each other to be loud and obnoxious and traumitizing those around us


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