Wednesday, July 7, 2010

life is a highway...

I want to ride it all night long...

And we sure did!  What a fabulous holiday weekend the Winds had to celebrate the fourth of July.  Our newest life journey included an engagement of our eldest son and immense bonding between the brothers, the puppies and the Antoniolli and Birkett families.  We began our journey on Saturday, arriving at Mary and John's newest compound addition.  Their family has a lot of property on Stony Lake in Michigan and we enjoyed the latest addition.  It is a lovely ranch style home on 40 acres including an airplane hanger so their eldest son, Richard, can fly in.  He just became a commercial pilot.  Mike's long time friend, Mikey, wasn't able to come up since he is now a doctor and has to do his residency at Cook County hospital.   This month it is surgery and he did not want to miss out on it.  His dog, Cash and his girlfriend Molly's dog, Proctor, came anyway.  My dogs are pretty sheltered and Mary suggested we just let them off the leash and get acclimated and sure enough they grooved right in.  Ponti and Proctor gave each other a run for the money.  We let the dogs roam all over their vast property and they were fine until right before we were going to leave.  Thumper decided to sneak out and explore on her own.  She travelled through the woods and got lost.  We called for an hour and panic set in.  Ponti even gave his bay call with us and finally Wayne took the Jeep down the road following the woods and he asked a neighbor if he saw a bassett.  The guy said his neighbor called him and spotted Thumper, so Wayne went into the woods and after two mirages of seeing his girl, finally connected and brought her back.  I think I yelled her name about a thousand times. We were beside ourselves and immensely relieved when she was found, dirty and scared, but back with us.What a close call.  I think all the scents in the woods took her off  the trail back.  Power of prayer.   
don't do that again, mama...

The first night we visited the Birkett's cabin - he owns 40 acres as well and his wife, Patty, gave us a grand tour of their little heaven on earth.  Joe is Mike and Margarita's boss, and our State's Attorney in Dupage County. There were so many people at their party and I gave them a heads up that it would turn into an engagement party - they were thrilled.  The memories we all made that night will be everlasting. 
birkett's place

We spent Sunday at the Antoniolli's.  We have known this wonderful family since Mike and Mike befriended each other in kindergarten.  They keep improving on their compounds and each time we visit there is so much more to enjoy.  Mary took us on her boat immediately and the kids went out numerous times thereafter, and especially enjoyed the midnight rides.   They enhanced their bonfire pit with stone and huge boulders that she got at an auction for only 4 bucks.  The hardest part was the labor of placing them.  The bonfires are my favorite.  Wayne likes them for the serenity and also because they keep the mosquitos away.  They love him and he always gets bit.  Just to give you an idea of how many people get together at their home - they made fajitas one night and all attending devoured them.  When everyone left, Wayne and I chatted with Mary and John and she mentioned she bought 20 pounds of meat and they left nothing for scraps.  This is a typical scenerio every weekend at their place.  The oldest four have graduated college, and they can boast having a pilot, doctor, lawyer and marketing/advertising profession so far.  They are halfway there.  I admire this family so much.  The kids are just living life to its fullest and always full of zest.  Never a dull moment. 
antoniolli's new bonfire pit

The best part of the whole weekend for Wayne and me was that our entire family shared the memories together, just as we did a couple of weeks ago; only this time with Margarita, Darcy, Thumper and Pontiac.  Everyone we love more than life was together.  Wayne and I enjoyed shopping and cooking the meals for them.  They would all line up at the kitchen counter table and mop it all up together, something we hardly ever do at home.  Everyone loved the breakfasts.  The time feels so strange up there.  We wake up around 10 EST and go to sleep at 3 in the morning.   We never watch TV nor listen to the radio, just connect with each other.  There is a DVD player and books, but I didn't listen to my ipod, nor read the new Sookie book on either trip.  I just wanted to enjoy the silence or listen to the conversation and laughter.  We thought the house was air conditioned and found it was not - that's how cool it stays with the breeze from the trees.  It is a magical land where lifetime memories keep us going in a sometimes crazy world. I cannot imagine how they do this every single weekend, but they do.  All the Birketts pretty much grew up there, then most moved to the city, so this is their roots.  Wayne and I did not have to battle too much traffic, but the boys ran into long snags for they left before we did.  We did not care, we were so grateful to have our Thumper back.  And now we have another girl, Margarita, who will join our family.  Darcy is bonding with us, so there are many more memories to be made.  She gets Dan to leave his mancave - finally. Steve is still a young man, so he has time to be youthful before thinking of settling down and tying knots. 
the boys

I hope the bonding continues now that we're back home.  July is a busy, active month for us, as it should be.  Summer should be about doing new things and enjoying the outdoors.  We packed a lifetime of memories into one weekend so far.  Let's see what the rest of the month has to offer.  I hope you all enjoy the summer as much as we do. The highway is as long as you want it to be. Make the memories.  xo