Sorry for completely disappearing this week! I got hit with a nasty stomach bug that kept me in bed and not up to doing much. But before it gets too late, I'd like to write about our fun family adventure on Father's Day.
My dad absolutely adores anything to do with the outdoors, so Mum planned a day trip to one of his favorite places, Starved Rock State Park, including a fantastic buffet brunch at the Lodge (the waitress told us they had "16 feet of desserts" ... they were amazing!).
The cutest thing happened back at my parents' house, when we were getting ready for the hike after Mass. I came downstairs wearing a pink t-shirt and Frank's White Sox cap. Angela was still in her church dress, but she took one look at me and ran upstairs, emerging minutes later wearing her own pink shirt and Joseph's White Sox cap.
"Angela," I said, "did you dress like me on purpose?" "Uh-huh," she said with a bashful smile.
I sure love my little mini-me.
We had the. best. time. on Sunday. Driving to Starved Rock takes a few hours, so we started the day off with a raucous sing-along to all our favorite campfire songs and country tunes. The 12-passenger van was practically shaking with our enthusiasm. I don't think Frank quite knew what hit him.
We hiked our family's favorite trail to LaSalle Canyon (it has the prettiest waterfall!), as well as a newer trail that Dad wanted to check out to St. Louis Canyon.
My East Coast friends (*cough* Frank *cough*) complain that the Midwest is so flat. In response, I hold up Starved Rock. It has canyons galore.
I took about a million photos of the pretty greenery ... I just couldn't get enough of it. It's nice to have them around to look at during long days at the office.
Looking through these pictures, I can't help thinking, "This is why we moved back to Chicago." The transition is still a little rocky; we're still looking for a church to attend in the city, still trying to develop a social life outside of hanging out with my family, and still missing our friends in DC like crazy. But days like Sunday remind me that why we made this move. We wanted to live close to family, so we could spend time and develop strong relationships with the people we love. I'm so grateful we get the chance to do that.
And if you're in Illinois and looking for a fun weekend adventure, I highly recommend Starved Rock State Park and the wonderful Lodge ... I think you'll love it!