Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy 20 Year Anniversary to us!!

Twenty Years!!!  My, how the time does fly right by, whether you're having fun or not.  Thankfully, these days, we are having fun, but it hasn't always been that way.  God has brought us through rocky times in our marriage that almost caused us to separate and live our lives apart.  I praise HIM for doing a work in both of us that allowed us to live life to the fullest with each other.  He can change hearts and mend broken spirits.  HIS restoration is powerful and worth all the hard work of sticking it out to become better people together.  

We took a long weekend and headed to the Chicago area.  We could see the John Hancock from a distance (14 miles away) as we approached our hotel.  It was nice to know we were so close to Chicago, yet far enough away to not feel like we were in the craziness of it.  

After getting all the children situated , we headed west.  We made arrangements with some friends in Valpo to stop by for a visit.  They were kind enough to share a meal with us and lots and lots of visiting too.  Loved our peaceful, backyard visit with the Slagers!
From there, we headed to our destination, Countryside, IL.  And right next to it was LaGrange, IL.  We felt right at home.  :)

The first morning we woke up and found a wonderful cafe that was jammed pack with people and filled with good food.  It was located in a downtown area that was busy, yet quaint.  With all the people standing in line, we thought for sure our wait would be a long time, but they got us seated right away.  We forgot what it's like to travel and dine without 6 children.  Everything is easier.  :)

After breakfast we headed to Go Ape, a treetop experience with zip lines.  Let's just say that I loved it and Jonathon did not.  Apparently he would rather keep his feet on the ground.  There was one moment where I felt a little funny in my eyes from being so high up, but I made it to the next platform and all was fine after that.  He struggled with taking that step off the platform to do the zip line.  He might have looked a little scared.  :)  

 There were 5 different stations.  We moved our trolley, that was attached to a harness that we were in, from one cable to the next.  Lots of safety learning ahead of time.  Every station had a ladder that we climbed to the first platform.  Then from there there were boards to walk on in the air, wires to walk on, rope walls to climb across, all while being way up in the air.    Some of the areas gave you an option whether you wanted to do moderate or extreme or difficult or extreme.  They weren't kidding when they said "extreme".  I'm still sore from some of those extreme sections.
Every landing from the zip line was special.  Jonathon ripped his jeans on one of his landings and I always thought I would make it facing forward, but always ended up sideways then backwards.  Made for an awkward landing, but funny.

I wish these pictures could truly show how high up we were.  The height didn't bother me, but some of the more wobbly parts of the course were unnerving.  

 This was the very last section before the longest zip line.  Right before this we did the Tarzan jump.  Talk about a rush of some kind.  You walk off a platform into mid air.  You drop and drop until your cable catches, then you swing across the forest into this large rope wall.  You bounce off of that the first time, then grab it the second time and climb up to the next platform.  We did it at the same time and both screamed the whole time we dropped.  I've never done anything like that!  

After our fun activity, we went back to the hotel for showers because we were both sweaty and dirty.  What a workout all that climbing and balancing was.  After we were cleaned up, we headed back to the downtown area where we ate breakfast.  We went to an Olive Oil and Vinegar store where we could taste different flavored oils and vinegars.  That was interesting.  We looked around a chocolate shop.  Then we decided to get an early supper, and Jonathon chose a steakhouse.  We walked into the building and then had to go to the basement to the actual restaurant.  Below was the entrance.  

We shared a meal and it was everything we both hoped for.  The steak was delicious, the sides were full of flavor, and the atmosphere was fun too.

After a lovely supper out, we did some much needed shopping without children, grabbed some sweet treats and headed back to the hotel for the evening.  We brought along the time capsule that was given to us for a wedding gift.  We opened it on our 10 year anniversary and again for this anniversary.  We plan on putting some new information in it, along with updated letters from family and friends.  If you want to contribute something, feel free to mail us something to put in.  We really enjoy reading through the letters from grandparents and parents.  Made me tear up as most of the family that contributed letters have passed away.  Even Jonathon expressed how he missed some of my family that were gone.  Sweet moments for us in remembering back.

The handwriting and the thoughts....brings back such memories. 

The hotel gave us free vouchers for a full breakfast at their restaurant, so the next morning we got up and went for a free breakfast.  Jonathon had waffles with berries and I had a veggie omelet with potatoes.  All was very good but not quite as good as the Blueberry Hill Cafe we went to before our zip lining expedition.

This area in Illinois is full of parks, so we decided to check one out before leaving to go home.  Of course we would pick the one with a waterfall.  It was small but so beautiful.  I could've sat there all day.  I told Jonathon if we had a place like this near us, school would be done by the falls every week.  There's just something so enjoyable about moving water.  It was the perfect place for little ones to play and enjoy nature.
We enjoyed passing moms with little ones and commenting on the children.  We might have started missing ours by this point.  ;)  Little ones in the way on the trail....we made sure the moms knew it was no problem at all.
On our way home, we made a farm store stop and a Hobby Lobby stop.  Our trip was complete.  :)