Being in the Army is tough. Not only do you have to wear that ugly beret, pay respect to those above you who may not deserve it, and prematurely suffer from ailing health due to lack of properly trained physicians, but they also manage to wrest from you most all of those basic rights we take for granted as American citizens. Like taking a vacation, for instance. There are plenty of jobs where if you decide you’d enjoy taking a few days off, you can give them a little heads up and be on your way. The army, however, prefers paperwork and inconsistent rules to the traditional approach of the modern workplace. Therefore, you can assume that after filling out paperwork correctly, you still may or may not be approved to take leave, and, usually, you will be the last to know which it may be. So after four years of Army life, filled with lots of irrelevant, poorly delivered training and not one real vacation, Matthew and I set off for a little adventure of our own in the mountains of north Georgia on what happened to be my 25th birthday. As it turns out, I am one very lucky woman, because I not only managed to marry the most wonderful man in the world, but that wonderful man happens to come from a wonderful family who happens to own a wonderful cabin with the sole purpose of allowing family to enjoy a vacation in the mountains at their leisure. The cabin is a little Utopia amidst the memories that pour out of every corner of its lovingly built walls. Having been erected by the hands of Matthew’s father’s family themselves and decorated with the love of Grandma Jessie, it is a wonderfully unique place of pure peace and love. As it borders the Chattahoochie National Forest, it is an isolated bit of land free from traffic, internet, cable, and cell phone reception. We enjoyed swimming in the lake, trout fishing (our first time!) in the creek nearby, taking long walks into the forest, and sitting by the fire together after a long day of bliss. Samantha’s favorite activities were throwing rocks of all sizes into the creek, taking walks where she only had to take a few steps before she could be carried by Mom, floating alongside us in the lake, or alternatively, taking two steps into the water, then two steps out several hundred times. It was hard to recognize Csonka since we’d never before seen him so happy. He was truly in his element in the mountains. He loved swimming, chasing Olive, forgetting all about the leash, pointing/retrieving Samantha’s thrown rocks, and eating thousands of sticks (he now realizes what he’s missing in our treeless yard). Olive really set out to prove to us just how much of a country dog she could be on this trip. After her first incident of teasing and chasing a horse, who, in turn, was intent on stomping her into the ground, she set about to redeem her doggy name, and we were so pleasantly surprised to see her sprint full speed into the lake like a dog walking on water. She and Csonka were peas in a pod as they chased each other through the woods and through the water. We had never known such peace inside a home before, as the dogs passed out as soon as they walked in the door, and Samantha slept so perfectly every nap and every night. We felt that we could have stayed there forever, but all good things do come to an end, I suppose. After spending almost two full weeks there, we came home with a new lease on life, until, of course, we remembered just how hot, humid, and completely boring Augusta, Georgia is in the middle of June. Nevertheless, I wanted to celebrate our adventure with some pictures and the hope that we will be returning again very soon!