Friday, July 8, 2011

Midwest Family Vacation

Dustin took a week off work and we jetted off for a terrific summer vacation to visit family in the Midwest. We braved the nighttime smoke on our drive to the Wilmington airport, and before we knew it, my grandma had picked us up from the shuttle stop and we had arrived! Dustin temporarily misplaced his wallet, which got us into major freak-out mode, but we eventually traced it back to falling out when we ate lunch at a little diner in town. We re-collected the wallet, ordered some sinfully delicious Aurelio's pizza (so super cheesy!), and then picked my dad up at the O'Hare airport.

Friday the boys went to Three Floyd's Brewery to eat some dinner and drink some brewskis.

My brothers at the brewery
Dustin's dinner
My mom and I took my grandma out to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse. She had never eaten a hibachi dinner, so it was fun to see her reactions to them cooking the food. They seriously gave us soooo much meat at the place we went to. I must have had two or three pieces of chicken cooked in my dinner!

Enjoying the show with dinner!
Saturday we woke up bright and early and primped for some family portraits. They had us do some really funny poses (picture laying on the floor with Dustin straddling my back, yeah, awkward) but they amazingly all looked really natural and cute in the photos. Since we were flying and luggage space was tight, I am taking my copy of the photos home after I visit my mom in August, so no pictures to share right now. In the afternoon we took a trip down memory lane. The whole family piled into our cars for the 1-hour drive back to Naperville, Illinois. It's a great town, and I lived there before we moved to Georgia in 1999.

View from the Riverwalk
My parents
Dustin and I overlooking the Riverwalk
We walked along the pretty Riverwalk downtown, and ate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants: Lou Malnati's. They have some of the best deep dish pizza I have ever eaten. Buttery deep dish crust, super gooey cheese, and lots of sauce on the top. My mouth is watering to even type about it. Their pizza is so good that they actually ship it frozen with dry ice for people to have a taste of Chicago anywhere in the country! After dinner, we relived our childhood by playing a twilight game of mini golf. It was so great to see so many familiar places. Plus it doesn't hurt that summer visits are definitely more comfy than the winter visits we have made in the past :)

On Sunday we headed to the family picnic. Both of my parents come from families with 5 kids, so our family reunion tends to get really big, really fast. I made some buffalo chicken dip and a cherry dump cake to share with the family, and everyone brought so much yummy food to eat! My grandma made some German potato salad, and there was seven-layer salad, baked beans, cupcakes, Texas brownie sheet cake, pasta salad, and the list of tasty food goes on and on. The girls got some sun and gabbed, while the boys played several rounds of volleyball. It was the old guys (dad, uncles) versus the young guys (Dustin, brothers, cousins). The old guys won, but we sure joked about how sore they would be feeling the next morning. It was so nice to see all my relatives in one place, as we hadn't seen most of them since the wedding a year and a half ago. Some of my second cousins I hadn't seen in about 10 years! Wow! My mom has all the photos from the picnic, so I may have to update this later with photos from the festivities!

Update -- Here are some photos I grabbed from my Aunt Brenda's facebook page of the family picnic!


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