On our way to my dad's place I realized I have never crossed the Minnesota border into Iowa.
Guess what -- it looks a lot like Minnesota. We drove through Mason City, Waterloo, Keokuk and then to Missouri. We stayed over in Hannibal, Missouri, boyhood home of one of my favorite American authors, Mark Twain.
After two days of driving we reached our destination -- a little log cabin in Paragould, Arkansas.
It was such a change of pace for us -- so peaceful and quiet. I loved hearing the birds in the morning, the crickets in the evening. The cabin was always filled with a woodsy scent, mingled with coffee and cooking smells.
My dad and stepmom were such gracious hosts. My stepmom stocked the trailer where we stayed with art projects, crayons and paper for the girls, and we enjoyed many home-cooked meals.
We went to the nature center in Jonesboro one day, and learned about Crowley's Ridge, a geological area covering miles of Missouri and Arkansas. We saw snakes in terariums and in the wild, and the girls got to try their hand at duck and goose calls.
The girls played with the dogs. They explored the property with my dad, which was so sweet to see. They rode around the property on Turfy, a golf cart Dad and Terry own, and swung in the hammock.
On our last day the girls took individual trips in to town with one of the grandparents, during which time they were utterly spoiled and got just about anything they asked for. (Thank goodness Terry knows where the Dollar General store is.)
Best of all, our kids got to know their grandparents. Lindsey chatted her grandpa's ear off one day, and Marissa naturally gravitated to Terry, asking her about her favorite color, holiday, hobbies, etc.
It was a visit well worth the drive. We'll be doing it again, I'm sure.