In the year that we have been here, we haven't had much vacation just the two of us. We managed a couple days in Galena back in January (frozen and snowy, but Vinny's was still open!), and a couple days at The Cove together (which was more work than vacation), but that's it. Last week, I surprised Karen with the news that we would be going away on Sunday night. Planning VBS, Family Fun Night, and the launch of MOPs has pretty well taxed Karen, and my schedule over the summer has been averaging 60 hour weeks, so we were definitely ready for one. I set up child care with a very reliable college student, booked us into the Starved Rock Inn (an old, but newly renovated and very comfortable, not to mention cheap motel straight out of the 1950's). We ate out, snacked on Fig Newton's and Pringles while we caught the Olympics on cable, hiked all over Starved Rock State Park, slept in (until 6:30!), and generally relaxed. It took a couple days to plan, but it was completely worth it.
Here's a couple pictures:
Since we got out early on Monday morning, there were virtually no other people about. That fact, combined with the early hour, meant that we were able to see a lot of wildlife. We nearly walked by this graceful doe, as she was standing completely still as we approached. After we saw her, she let us stand within 20 feet of her for several minutes, until the mosquitoes got too bad and we decided it was time to continue our hike. I think if we had been slow and deliberate about it, we could have walked up to her and fed her out of our hands. It was fun to see a wild deer this close.
This, on the other hand, is my "dear" bride (sorry, but I couldn't resist) in her natural habitat. After 14 years together (including 12 as husband and wife), I know that the best days of my life are always yet to be, as the passing of each day, week, month, and year means more depth, more love, and more fun with the only lady for whom I will ever have eyes.