Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Trip to "The Castle"

There was nothing but excitement from my girls and husband as we prepared for our trip to "the castle" this past weekend. Rod's aunt, uncle and cousins have been going to Stronghold Castle in Oregon, Illinois for the past 30 years or so with their church. Although Rod has not attended in the almost 15 years that we've been married, he went often from the age he turned 12 until our wedding. Nothing but fond memories surround this vacation for my husband.

His aunt and uncle invited us to the castle this year as their treat. Ater making arrangements to leave our two-year-old at home with our moms, we agreed to go. Nikelle and Jaycie could not get to the castle soon enough. Question upon question was asked about what to expect at the castle and my standard answer was, "I've never been there. I'll find out with you when we get there." While my family was filled with anticipation, I was filled with intrepidation. While I can blame my anxiety on the fact that Jaycie's behavior is unpredictable in crowds it really boils down to the fact that I didn't know what to expect from this weekend. I am a control freak and the only control I have of the unknown is to never venture into it.

I should learn by now that my fears of the unknown will quickly dissipate if I simply jump right in. While Jaycie did have her moments of clinginess while we were away, most of the time, she made herself at home with her cousins and explored the castle.

This staircase was in "the tower" of the castle. While I found myself weak in the knees and followed my husband's example of clinging to the wall as we walked, Jaycie went up and down the stairs without a worry. She even asked Rod to take her again later.

Here is Jaycie looking out the window at the top of the tower. This other picture shows you her lack of fear in the environment in the castle.

Nikelle's favorite part of the castle was the secret passaeway. While I forgot to take a picture of how the magic works, this is the room it leads to. Nikelle enjoyed teaching her sister and cousins in this little sanctuary.

It was a restful weekend where we spent time with family and their church family and enjoyed a peaceful time away from the rat race. We played games, read books and had time for fellowship.

We were also able to make some memories in the snow.

There was a hill that was long but not too steep which made for some great sledding. It will be fun to make this a family tradition.

I can't recall a time with Rod's aunt, uncle and cousins that wasn't filled with fun memories. I have no idea why I was so hesitant to jump in on the fun but I'm so glad we did!

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