Though we have been several times in years past, we haven't been since living in IL even though it's only 2.5 hours away. The day that Adriana officially decided to no longer be involved in competitive gymnastics, I told Kevin that he needed to make arrangements for us to go back. Even though in the beginning it was a business relationship, it is no longer that way. The owners "adopt" you into their family and left us with an open invitation. After you've sat around their table and listened to their AMAZING stories, you feel like adopted grandchildren! A weekend is never enough time. We promised this time to NOT wait so long in returning. I know 3 children that will make sure that we NEVER wait long again!
We spent the weekend getting to be a family with NO stress, completely surrounded by nothing but nature. NO outside world. It didn't take long for the chaos to fade away. Within minutes, it was amazing to see how Kevin and I transformed into the happy, funny parents the kids love.
The weekend in a nutshell: GORGEOUS views no matter which direction you turned, riding through the woods and creeks in a Club Car 4X4 that held up to all of our adventures, interacting with the beautiful horses that made us feel TINY, watching the operations of a farm (especially bailing hay), climbing a 4 story tree house (and my memories of Peyton doing all this things at the same age of Bradlee!), landscaping views straight from Better Homes & Garden, hiking to the waterfalls, breakfast around the table just like we WERE family and time had not passed, fishing, wading through the creeks, paddle boats, eating peaches straight from the tree, letting the kids have "Driving" lessons with Dad (oh boy....I'm SO not ready for that day!), reading, reading, and more reading in the most serene surroundings. We also made a side trip to an exotic feline rescue center that provided some hilarious entertainment. (Kevin, is your heart beating normally again? On a side note: we were stunned to find out that one of the Pumas was rescued from a home IN CHAMPAIGN!) All in all, it was just a blessing that we never dreamed would be possible years ago when that friendship began.
It was just what we needed to regroup, refocus and find peace. We try to live by the "live, laugh, love" mantra and this weekend we did JUST that. We laughed abundantly, lived to the fullest (including hearing Kevin say I had REALLY mellowed out over the years because I didn't freak out over any of his crazy antics...except when Peyton was driving!), and we LOVED completely. Blessed!