So much happened this weekend, but it was a good, good time. I'll do my best to update, but I'm exhausted and starting to forget details, but Graham or Nikki can fill in where I missed something.
Essentially, it all starts months ago when we were invited to a Memorial Day weekend wedding. We declined the invite since we initally had plans and decided we'd save money on a hotel room and gas by not going. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago! My friends Nikki and Jason made plans to drive up to Illinois from Orlando to visit Nikki's mom, sister, and brothers. Once plans were finalized, Nikki's sister Megan sent me a facebook message. I guess she sat down with her mom (who is pretty much like MY mom) and they thought it would be a great surprise if Graham and I could make it down. I told her we'd try and I'd let her know. Graham and I talked about it and decided that we could swing it, especially since I had Friday off and we both had Monday off.
Friday was a busy, crazy day. I basically ran around taking care of all the errands I normally do over the entire weekend, and I packed and planted more herbs for the garden. We left Chicago (but not before dropping off a set of keys with dad-in-law for the weekend) and had what was ultimately an uneventful ride down, aside from an hour-long backup on I-55 that was NOT related to Memorial Day weekend traffic or construction, but a bad one car accident on the highway. We got into Jacksonville around 10:00 p.m., got some McD's and checked in. Since there was still time, we decided to drive to MacMurray College, my alma mater, to visit with Brian and Robyn.
It was a fun night visiting with them! We got to hear some of the wedding music they picked out AND we got our wedding invitation! I opened the invite, read it, awed, and promptly signed and returned our response card. I told Robyn, "Trust me, you'll thank me for this later." That was the one wedding-related task I hated: calling the missing RSVPs. Before I got married, I used to think I was pretty good in turning around wedding response cards, but ever since I had to call so many people (some multiple times) to confirm if they were coming to our wedding, I DO NOT wait on those things. The response cards go out the day after we get the invitation, if not the day of. I don't want to make someone else wait in the same way I did.
Saturday was the BIG DAY. We were all ready to surprise Nikki and Jason early on, but I called Nikki's mom, Cynde, and we confirmed for 1:00. Megan told me I could "barge on in" when we arrived, and I rather liked that idea. I'm very bargy. :-) I called Cynde just to make sure we were cool, and Graham parked the car around the corner and we just walked on in! I shouted something along the lines of, "What up, dudes?" but I can't really remember. Nikki's response? "What the frig?" Glorious! I was really excited that she just ran right up to me and hugged me; I was worried things would be awkward. We had a fun afternoon with them. We caught up, went to Dairy Queen, and ultimately just had a good time reconnecting. We haven't seen Nikki and Jason since our wedding, and unfortunately Orlando and Chicago aren't very close together. We even sat down and played a game of Scrabble together. Too bad no one told me Jason's a viking at Scrabble. I placed 3rd, which I wasn't happy about, but at least I know I have plenty of time to practice for the next time I play against Jason.
Saturday night we met up with Nikki's family--niece included--at Steak n' Shake for dinner, and after that Graham and I just hung out and enjoyed the weekend.
On Sunday we met up with Brian and Robyn for brunch. They attended a wedding on Saturday (the same one we initially declined) and were able to tell us stories about the wedding. We went back to Brian's apartment and played what had to be the longest game of Trivial Pursuit ever. We accidentally missed the cookout with Nikki's family because we both swore it was at 4:00 but apparently it was at 1:00. We're terrible. (We're still really sorry, Cynde!!!!)
Sunday night we had dinnier at Leo's with Brian and Robyn, and afterwards Graham and I drove to Springfield/Chatham to play some putt-putt at Knight's Action Park. We both played terribly, but somehow I won by 3 strokes. Terrible! We're normally pretty good at mini-golf! It was fun to play together; I haven't been there since Nikki's bachelorette party in 2007, and Graham hadn't been there since....? 2004? Maybe? It was good to refresh our memories and actually go on a date.
After mini-golf we drove back to Jacksonville and made late night plans with Nikki and Jason. They went to see a movie with Nikki's family, and we had planned to meet at Steak n' Shake for milkshakes but instead found that it closes way early on Sundays, along with everything else in that town! LAME. We found the McD's drive-in and took our drinks back to the good old Super 8 (our home away from home) to talk. We're good talkers, man, because we didn't get to sleep until 2:00 A.M. when they left! Crazy.
Today was busy...we slept in because we were up way past our bedtimes (we're closeted old people) and we had to pack (not hard), check out, get gas, and get on outta Dodge so we could make it back up to Chicago before Mary went away to camp for the summer. We made it in pretty good time, but we were really frustrated by all the sudden braking on the highway by cars that were going just a little too fast and suddenly had to hit the breaks because they saw a state trooper car. That was probably more frustrating than anything else. Thankfully, we made it home safely and we were able to chill, unpack, and relax a bit before going over to Graham's parents for dinner and to say goodbye to Mary.
Now...we're home and we're supposed to be getting ready for work this week (clearly I'm otherwise occupied). God Bless Memorial Day! We have a much-needed short week this week, Graham especially. He hasn't had any time off since his spring break, which is a long, long time in teacher world.
This coming weekend, our friend Liz is flying in from Hawaii and visiting Illinois for about a week. Liz was the reason we went to Hawaii in December in the first place, so it'll be good to see her on this side of the Pacific. :-) Hopefully we'll have some pictures of the weekend to share!