Friday, January 18, 2013

Whirlwind Week in Illinois

This past week we drove to Illinois to celebrate Christmas with our family.  It was easier than previous years because we were able to split up the celebrations so there was one day per family (both our parents are divorced which equates to FOUR Christmases).  In the past, everyone wanted to celebrate ON Christmas Eve or ON Christmas Day.  That meant splitting up the visits into 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening on both days.  Crazy.  

It's been three years since we were in our hometown.  It was Alex' high school graduation.  Aiden wasn't even a year old yet.  It was strange to see the area.  It has changed so much since we were there last.  Tons of new construction.  It was sort of like playing an old video game.  I had some muscle memory about how to get around, but I couldn't lay out a map of the area in my head.

I spent a couple days with my friend Chrissie, who I miss dearly.  We have been best friends since I was in 3rd grade (she was in 1st).  We both live busy lives filled with work, family and a social life, so we don't spend a lot of time talking on the phone.  What I love about her is we can go months without talking, but when we do find a moment when we are both free to chat it's like no time has past.  Neither of us holds a grudge against the other for being out of touch because we are in the same chaotic boat of life.  It's the same way when we see each other.  We can immediately talk to each other about anything.  No limitations, no judgement.  It's liberating, really.  I hate that we don't get to do that every weekend. 

Thursday night Travis and I left the kids with my dad and went out for dinner and drinks with Alex, his girlfriend Laura, Chrissie and her husband Jordan.  We had SO much fun.  We went to a Mongolian barbeque place called 301 Mongolia in downtown Champaign.  Its a stir fry buffet where you physically pick out what you want (rice vs noodles, veggies, meat, sauce) then hand it to the cook.  The server brings it out to you when you're done.  After dinner we walked down the block to a bar where we drank more wine and played pool.  We skipped over to a pub at some point and tried a few fancy beers.  We finished the night at some greasy diner.  Despite both of us having a terrible cold, we were able to really enjoy ourselves.  It was fabulous.

I will have to post separately about our drive there and back.  For now, here's the rest of the week in photos:

Aiden, Travis, Alex and Callaway played in what little snow they could find.

Grandpa Ken and Mila really hit it off.

Aiden showed everyone his new LeapPad from Gpa.

Gaga and Mila meet.

"Christmas" dinner at Dad's

All bundled up with places to go.

Aiden and his Uncle Sean were best buds.

Damn smokers (Travis is just faking)

Christmas at Gpa's - his place is tiny, but it's homey.

Chistmas at Grandma Carol's - great food and tons of grandchild spoiling.

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