Outstanding weekend

Jason and I had such a good weekend – one full of laughter with his friends and family.

We left home early Friday morning, on Jason’s birthday, and headed to Jasper, Indiana. It was a place he called home for many years – one I was happy to finally see. It was a cute little area with tons of corn fields.

It’s always a lot of fun to see all the places Jason has explained to me over the years – the jobs, the homes and the different landmarks. It was also nice to finally put faces with names of friends he spent a lot of time with during those years.

Definitely a good way to celebrate his birthday, surrounded by friends.

I love hearing the stories that come with friends seeing each other after many years of going their different ways in different areas. So many hysterical memories, so many everlasting moments were shared between Jason and his friends.

We also paid our respect to one of Jason’s friends who unfortunately passed away, way before his time while in Indiana. Jason gathered some of his friends and we met his buddies sister at the gravesite.

A line of three cars pulled into the cemetery, which moved his friends sister to tears. As Jason and his friends stood around the grave nonstop laughter filled the space as everyone shared a funny story about their friend. What a great way to celebrate the life of their friend.

It was a great night.

We started Saturday off extremely early, an hour I am definitely not used to rising, so we could arrive in Robinson, Illinois early to start visiting with his family.

The drive was much, much shorter than the day before. We witnessed a stunning sunrise on the way into town, which only added to what turned out to be an amazing day.

As soon as we walked into his grandparents home I felt like I had been going there for years. I was greeted with countless hugs and sincerity of everyone excited to meet me. I was overwhelmed with how nice everyone was, how welcoming they were. I felt like I instantly became a part of their family.

A moment that stuck out the most was when I was standing between the kitchen and the living room. Wyatt, Jason’s nephew, came running up to me and threw his arms around me giving me the longest hug. Yep an instant smile spread across my face. Throughout the two days we were with his sister’s family he constantly came up to me hugging me or snuggling close by. Wyatt definitely stole a piece of my heart.

His niece Jorja was the same way … we spent a lot of time building towers with blocks, or just being close by to each other. She always seemed to find me no matter where I was.

It felt great spending time with the kiddos.

Before all the festivities began, his grandparents, brother and fiance, sister and family and mother all gathered at the park for pictures. I was included in almost everyone of them, which again made me feel good because I again felt like I was a part of the family.

Jason’s family touched me this weekend …

Almost 40 people gathered together last night to spend time together as hotdogs and sausages were grilled over a fire. It was a great atmosphere, lots of laughter, lots of reminiscing and lots of new memories made.

I caught myself looking at Jason many times over the past few days, he was so happy. It always touches my heart when I see him around kids. He is always playing with them, always making them smile and laugh. I also enjoyed watching his interaction with family, it was great to see …

I thought of my family often these last few days … large family gatherings are always fun. I always walk away with a smile that never fades away.

It was great to get to know his aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and mom … a wonderful group of people. It was also great to see his sister and family again, as well as meet his brother for the first time.

What a phenomenal weekend … one that again makes me feel closer to Jason.

As we drove away, I told Jason we have to go to more of these huge family gatherings with both of our families.This weekend only reminded me of what I already know – family is extremely important to me.

My heart is smiling …

After enjoying lunch with some of the family who was still in town, we said our goodbyes while sharing we hope to see them all again soon, and headed out of town.

Jason and I reminisced about the events that unfolded over the past few days while driving to our next stopping point. So much joy!