Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Err…sorry, my inner 2002 Eminem rapper came out after typing that title. 🙂 Anyway, now that maybe 10% of you got my reference to a total “throwback” song, you’re welcome that that will be stuck in your head now, for the rest of our readers, I’ll move along like that never happened. Sound good?
Lindsay and I CANNOT begin to thank everyone involved in allowing this vacation to happen enough but we’ll try. You were all instrumental in giving us an awesome vacation in one way or another via your love, support, prayers and donations but there are a few family and friends we need to mention and thank publicly as well. First off, a HUGE thank you to my parents, Wayne and Colleen, for covering our room expenses at our outstanding resort in Wrightsville Beach, without that this trip probably wouldn’t have happened! Thank you to Sam and Michael for meeting us in West Virginia and continuing to North Carolina with us, you made the few days you were with us very memorable and I know the vacation wouldn’t have been the same without you there for the part of it that you were. Thank you to my in-laws for watching our dogs for a few days during our vacation, we were able to rest easy knowing they were in good hands! Lastly, thank you to Claire for being such an awesome daycare assistant and covering the daycare while we were away and putting up with our knuckleheaded dogs for most of our vacation! 🙂
Now to sum up our awesome vacation in as few a word as I can but still get the gravity of its awesomeness across. We took off on Sunday morning, 5/24 around 7:30am, we had planned on an earlier departure but I may or may not have been dragging butt a little bit and then we of course had to get our Starbucks locked and loaded for the long drive ahead. Most vacations that I’ve been on whether it has been with Linds or my family have been very time-sensitive or deadline driven. I think starting this vacation off without much of a “we have to be here by X o’clock” mindset made for a very easy, pleasant first day of driving. We ventured through Indianapolis on Indy 500 race day…I know, stupid planning…but we got through without any delay at all, still scratching my head on how that happened? We continued along I-70 over to Dayton, OH and then started our route down SR35 towards West Virginia. I had told Lindsay that I was super excited to drive through the Appalachians. I had heard of their breathtaking beauty but even my visions of what they would look like fell way short.
We drove up, down, winded left and then right before slowing down to maintain traction on the sharp, almost hairpin turns and none of that mattered after being able to experience the beauty before us. I have been blessed with the opportunity to see some of God’s most beautiful places to offer on this continent and the Appalachians are right up there at the top, if you ever get the chance to go hike them or at least drive through them, DO IT! Make sure you go with an open mind, an open schedule and a carefree attitude, you’ll be just as in awe as we were winding through those mountains. It was as if God Himself had taken his fingers, the way Bob Ross used to, and painted each one of those mountains, peaks and valleys with his fingertips, not leaving behind one imperfection. The lush trees rolled seamlessly over the hills and peaks, painting the landscape different shades of green with the occasional blossoming tree putting pops of color amongst the greenery. It was one of those “WHOA” moments in life, making you feel just how small we are in His kingdom, it was an awesome experience.
We eventually followed this scenery to about an hour on the south side of Charleston, WV to our night one destination of Glade Springs Resort where Linds’ best friend Sam and I had chosen to surprise her and let her know that Sam and Michael would be joining us for a few days of our trip. I would highly recommend this place for anyone looking for a nice little getaway from your usual hotel stays or for a few day mini-vacation. It is a 4,100 acre resort with a few golf courses, equestrian center, rec center, restaurants and bars and some very nice facilities. It’s a bit off the beaten path but totally worth the trip! Anyway, Lindsay’s draw DROPPED when she saw Sam out of the corner of her eye and she was very happy to hear they would be joining us for a few days. We all ate dinner together at one of the resort restaurants and then retired back to our room for the evening. Well Michael and I obviously needed to go get some beer to drink so we went to the local IGA (yeah, they actually had an IGA–my Illinois folk will recognize that reference!) and got some local brewed beers, mine was very fittingly called Sweet Baby Jesus and was a peanut butter and chocolate porter and it was delicious. We went back to the room where our wives were and all talked about our drives and our weekends and then decided we better get some rest so we pulled out the “sleeper” sofa to find that Sam and Michael would be sharing a (maybe?) full-size mattress. Sam, Michael and I had planned for them to just stay in our room as it was a suite that had a separate bedroom area but we all neglected to see the size (or lack thereof) of the sleeper sofa…good thing they love each other, right? 🙂
We woke up the next day and got on the road by about 6:30am to make sure we made it to North Carolina around lunchtime. We got to pass through some pretty amazing tunnels that went through mountains separating West Virginia and Virginia and then Virginia from North Carolina, a pretty awesome feat of human engineering! We ventured through the noticeably flattening landscape towards the ocean until we finally reached Lindsay’s favorite place in the world, Wilmington, NC. We immediately continued through town to the adjoining town of Wrightsville Beach, they’re similar to Bloomington-Normal in nature, basically bleeding into each other at the town’s “borders”. We got to our resort, the Blockade Runner, and checked in shortly after eating an awesome fresh seafood lunch at a local bar/restaurant overlooking the sound (canal) that separated Wrightsville Beach from the mainland. After checking in, we walked the resort grounds, checking out what it had to offer before deciding to eat at the resort restaurant which was very fancy and had good food but would actually turn out to be one of the “worst” meals we had down there. Michael and I then headed to the local sports bar to catch the Blackhawks game and had a few drinks to wind down our night. On the following days that Michael and Sam were there our days were pretty much as follows: wake up and shower/get ready, eat breakfast, hit the beach, stuff our faces with a delicious lunch, return to our rooms for naps or relaxation, overeat the delicious dinner we had and then return back to Lindsay and I’s beachfront balcony room for some cards while listening to music. It was the life, let me tell you. It’s amazing how simplifying a vacation and surrounding yourself with good company can make it more enjoyable! We obviously got out to see Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach and what they had to offer, including the bars, restaurants, attractions and other cool spots. Michael and I may or may not have tricked our wives into letting us take an hour-long venture through BB55, the USS North Carolina, as they walked through the gift shop and then sat in the car waiting for us. LOVE YOU GUYS for letting us do that! As you can imagine, there was ZERO complaining from Sam or Lindsay upon our return to the car! 😛 It was totally worth it, I was in the Navy and that was the most in-depth tour of a ship I was ever able to do, it was definitely worth it! We got to walk the Wilmington riverwalk, walk the main streets and side streets and venture in and out of the cute little shops and look at all the local decor and goods and we got to try some AWESOME food! The time we had with Sam and Michael was awesome but it came to a close on Thursday morning when they headed home to Illinois, a 14-hour drive!
Lindsay and I learned the hard way that chemotherapy and the sun…not very good friends. She got pretty burnt on her legs on Wednesday that would lead to swelling and uncomfortability for the rest of our vacation, unfortunately. We were able to keep her legs elevated, aloe lotioned up so much that her legs looked like those model legs that are all baby-oiled up in pictures, and then topped it off with some indoor activities. We spent Thursday and Friday to ourselves, doing mostly nothing eventful, which was GLORIOUS. We spent probably half of our time in our rooms, to ourselves, relaxing and taking in the views while keeping each other’s company. I think I am up about 473 games of Skip-Bo on her now…Michael and I are still down on the best of 27 series of Euchre 13-11 right now I think. 🙂 It was awesome though, just what we had set off on this vacation for though, we got to lay in bed together most of the days, play games together, watch stupid movies, laugh and just forget reality for a while. We sprinkled some awesome food in there as well, along with some morning beach walks and balcony sitting, overlooking the Atlantic. It was perfect, a perfectly relaxing vacation. We made the decision on Saturday to head home instead of staying one more night due to the continuous flare-up with her sunburn preventing us from spending more time outside on the beach. It’s ok, I secretly am glad she got burnt so I could spend more private, one-on-one time with my wife but don’t tell her that! We headed out around 10am on Saturday and headed home before stopping in Huntington, WV to make sure we were stopped so I could watch Game 7 of the Hawks series with Anaheim, boy am I glad we stopped because that was a fun game to watch!
We got home yesterday (Sunday 5/31) at about 1pm and were greeted shortly thereafter with some wet puppy kisses from our dogs, Joey and Pacey, named after characters from the Dawson’s Creek TV show by my wife. Dawson’s Creek was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, no coincidence at all that it is Lindsay’s favorite place, huh? 🙂 After our dogs were dropped off by my mother-in-law we just spent Sunday decompressing and doing some light cleaning to get ready for the week. Our vacation was perfectly relaxing and was an amazing break from all of the chaos going on in our lives but we both missed our families and our dogs and were relieved to be home. The relief was short-lived, as we had many medical bills roll in during our time away along with the ever-looming feeling of reality setting in. Did we really have to go back to reality, back to work and back to our routines? The bills were reminding us that yes, we had to accept that our vacation was over and it was back to reality. 😦 We didn’t care much though, we still had each other, we still had our healthy baby boy kicking at his mama, we still had our unwaveringly happy dogs and we still had our families, friends and support system. We both knew that it was time to step back into the ring and start fighting again, that the time of beach-lounging was in our rearview but we both talked about how excited we were to share our next beach vacation with our awesome little boy who is getting closer and closer to meeting us! Oh well, until that next vacation we would settle back into our blessed lives and keep trucking on through our journey. We have way too many people who care about us and that are praying for us out there to keep away for too long. We thank you all for everything you’ve given us this far and look forward to continuing our journey with you all! Our heads are definitely both still dreaming of drinks in our hands, sunbathing and watching our son digging in the sand, waves crashing to the shore, sun setting in the background while our son looks up at us both with his innocently beautiful smile that will inevitably melt our hearts and we can both feel the weight of reality floating away from us. We both can’t wait until we can make those dreams our reality but until then, it’s unfortunately back to our current reality…