I spent Friday and Saturday morning of my break doing some shopping and packing of luggage. Then early Saturday morning I decided to check my flight status before I started doing some last-minute things around the house. At that point I realized that I had written down the arrival time by mistake, instead of the departure time, and suddenly realized I had less than an hour until my flight took off! I rushed out the door with my luggage in tow, and the 20-minute drive to the Jacksonville airport seemed like it took FOREVER. Luckily, I passed through security just as my flight was beginning to board, and I didn't start my trip off on the wrong foot. The best part of my connection in Atlanta was surprising my mom as she was boarding her flight to Chicago. She totally didn't expect to see me until we met up later that evening, and it was a great way to spend my hour layover.
That evening, my brother, David, picked me up and we headed to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was my first time meeting his girlfriend, Claire, and we had a great time sipping on margaritas and chatting! They make such a cute couple :)
Staying with my grandma means that she spoils us with delicious food and attention! Like breakfast made to order, and then delicious homemade Easter lamb cake. Mmmm - wish I had some more of that cake right now!
The best part about being around family over spring break was having a huge crowd together on the holiday! We have gotten quite used to it just being six or seven of us for family holidays in Georgia, but it was nice to have over twenty relatives together at one place! I ate way too much of the yummy family favorites that I tend to never make. The weather could not have been more beautiful, with a gentle breeze, clear skies, and a perfect temperature for mingling on the patio.
During the week, we stayed with my grandma in Northwest Indiana, and enjoyed taking her out to lunch or shopping. Every trip to a mall elsewhere makes me remember just how limited our choices are in Jacksonville! We also visited the monastery where my parents had their wedding portraits taken, 28 years ago! The grounds were beautiful and the weather just as gorgeous!
My mom and I headed down to Champaign-Urbana on Tuesday to see my brother one more time. David is working on getting his PhD at U of I and he made some delicious Moroccan lamb stew for us when we came to visit. He is overwhelmingly the most creative chef in the family, and even made his own lamb stock for his stew by simmering the bone. That is some dedication, and it paid off! The stew was delicious, and I'm not usually one to enjoy lamb meat.
My Aunt Brenda and Aunt Dee had work off Wednesday, so we visited the Michigan City outlet malls. I remember going to these shops when we used to do back-to-school shopping in elementary school, and I managed to score some great deals during this trip as well. Like an $8 comfy dress from Banana Republic!
Thursday was the highlight of our trip, when my mom, her sister, and my grandma all went to Drury Lane Theater for dinner and the show Hairspray. The theater was gorgeous, the food and wine were great, and the show kept us laughing the entire time. This trip reminded me that I really want to check out some more shows in the next few years. Maybe a New York City trip might be in the cards to see some of the shows I haven't seen yet?
The last day we just spent some quality time with family: chatting and laughing all day long! No trip to Chicago would be complete without some pizza, so we headed to Beggar's Pizza for some cheesy, gooey pizza goodness! The pizza alone will keep me wanting to visit at least once a year, and I have since found out one of my favorite pizzerias (Aurelio's) has opened up a location in the suburbs of Atlanta. We will definitely be checking that out if Dustin and I end up relocating back to Georgia.