Sunday, August 1, 2010


This past weekend was one that just doesn't happen very often. It was one of those, for us, out of a fairy tale. We were able to spend the entire weekend away, tucked away on a private little paradise. What was incredibly amazing was that the only cost was a half tank of gas, $5 at a country market for slush puppies and bottled sodas, and $10 for hamburgers on the way home!

Years ago, Kevin began a friendship with one of his business vendors. Mr. David became like family for us during Peyton's hospitalization. He was one of those very few people that wasn't terrified to come into his room and interact with us. Up until that time, he was just a name I heard Kevin mention. The day he showed up in our hospital room with a steak dinner and sat with Kevin so I could actually leave the room long enough to do a load of laundry, I knew he would be in our lives forever. There just aren't many "business" people like that. Through the years, and all of the "moves", he has remained a constant in both the business and personal world.

Later that same year, Mr. David introduced us to the retired owners of his company. They own a Belgian Warmblood horse ranch in a VERY tiny town in Indiana (makes Westmoreland look like a metropolis!). He encouraged us to spend time on the ranch several months after Peyton's hospitalization. At that time, the trip was about 6 hours. That very first time we went, I was completely unprepared for the sights I was going to see. The last 15 minutes of the trip were almost enough to cause a divorce. Kidding....sort of! When we turned down that first dirt road with shack after shack, homes with broken out windows, I JUST KNEW Kevin had gotten me into another one of his crazy adventures that just NEVER turned out like planned. After several minutes and a near heart attack, we turned a corner and the most amazing property came into view. Yes, I had LOTS of apologizing to do for my previous freak outs!

The home is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was built in 1864 and the main house is "original". The breakfast room is located in the "smoke" house portion of the home with all the original wood. Straight out of the history books! The grain silos had been converted into living quarters. However, we were sad to find out this trip that they had taken on water damage and they aren't sure how to fix it. We were still able to go in and climb to the top for the panoramic view of the property.

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!

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