Last week Josh and Kara came to visit us in Peoria and we had a wonderful time. It was so great to see them and show them around our new city. We were kind of scrambling after Christmas to get things ready for their arrival. We only had one twin bed in our guest room, so we had to go out and buy another one before they arrived. The bed was finally delivered just hours before we left to pick them up at O'Hare. Our 3 hour drive from the airport to our house was not too exciting, considering how dark it is here after 5 pm and how little there is to see between Chicago and Peoria. We couldn't even show them how much snow there was because it was so dark. Mostly we just chatted and talked about our plans for the week. When we got home, we showed Josh and Kara exactly how we broke in to our home the week before. So if anything is missing from our house, we know who to blame.
The next morning we went to Schnuck's (our grocery store) to shop for the week, made some breakfast, and then went out for some more shopping and a drive through different parts of Peoria. We stopped by the furniture store to show them a couple of the couches we are thinking about buying. We drove down the most affluent street in Peoria to look at the gorgeous homes, now covered in snow. (Pretty much any home looks more beautiful and quaint covered in snow.)
We stopped at Gordman's, my new favorite store. We bought a night stand, a vanity, and a large mirror for the guest room. Then we got out to the car and realized we were going to have some trouble fitting it all in. Nathan flipped over the end table to try a different angle and dropped the drawer on the floor. He was quickly scolded by his younger brother for being an idiot with his newly purchased furniture. We got the end table and mirror in the trunk, but couldn't decide where to put the vanity. We tried the back seat (maybe we could lay it across our laps) but Josh's legs were too big. We tried the front seat, but once again Nathan nearly dropped our new furniture on the ground. Josh quickly retorted, "Are you done being a retard MBA?" Little brothers are so encouraging.
We finally decided to leave Josh and Kara at the mall, drop our furniture at home (which was 5 minutes away), and then come back to pick them up. A much less retarded plan.
After the Gordman's fiasco, we drove around Peoria, looking at homes and different neighborhoods. We showed them our church and went to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Since moving here, Nathan has developed an addiction to wings, so this was more to supply him with his weekly fix then it was to show our visitors a good time. That night, the video games began: brothers bonding over virtual combat.
Day 2: Snow day.
We were pretty much snowed in, so we had breakfast and hung out inside all day. More video games. Kara and I did some scrapbooking while the boys continued their virtual killing spree. We ordered Jimmy John's sandwiches for delivery, one of my new favorite things.
But probably one of the biggest highlights (at least for Nathan and I) was that JOSH SHOVELED OUR DRIVEWAY!! We went outside and took lots of pictures of the brothers shoveling the snow. It won't hold much novelty for long, but that day it was really fun.
That night we ventured out to the movies to see Invictus and go to a local favorite, Avanti's Italian Restaurant. It was COLD!!! Especially for 4 California kids. Snowy and windy. But still super fun experiencing a snowy night with our family.
Day 3: Bring your family to work day!
We drove by my new job, so everyone could see it. Nathan hadn't even been inside, so I was really excited to show him as well as Josh & Kara. Then we drove to Pekin to visit Nathan's office and go to Menard's. First, a walk through Menard's, "now bigger and better than ever" (see pictures). We went to Nathan's work for the grand tour there. They just built all the offices, so it is all very nice and new. Nathan has a nice big office with a big U-shaped desk, chairs for meetings, and a giant whiteboard (I love office supplies, so this makes me happy).
That night we took Josh and Kara to one of our new favorite spots, Water Street Wines, Cafe & Coffees. It's a really cute restaurant that serves delicious fondue. They had never had fondue, so it was extra fun. The best was the dessert fondue, which we pretty much devoured. Of course, no night would be complete without more video games. Brother bonding time.
Day 4 & 5: Chicago!!
The next morning we started our trip to Chicago. We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Heavy but delicious. We all ended up napping in the car (except for Nathan of course). After a long drive, we checked in to our hotel and took a walk around. It was REALLY windy, so this was a little difficult. We did get to see some shops, get a good feel for the city and take some pictures before getting ready for dinner.
No trip to Chicago would be complete without some deep dish pizza, so we went to Gino's East. DELICIOUS!!! So filling, but definitely worth it. Unfortunately, our eyes were bigger then our stomachs and we ordered one pizza too many. For future reference, you really only need 1-2 pieces per person when ordering deep dish at Gino's East.
After dinner, we had tickets to an improv show at Second City, so we caught a cab to escape the wind and cold. At the beginning of the show, they asked "who has never been to Second City before?" All four of us raised our hands along with a number of other audience members. They called on a girl in the front row and asked her a few questions. When they were done, they asked again, "who else has never been to Second City?" This time, I was the only one of our party to raise my hand. I guess I didn't get the memo that the Osbornes were sitting this one out. Of course, they called on me.
"Where are you from?"
"Originally from California but we just moved to Peoria."
- I pointed to Nathan -
"No my husband. For his job."
"What do you do?"
At this point I just started laughing because I realized I had unintentionally drawn attention to Nathan and forced him to describe his very complicated job to a room full of people. Sorry, babe. He basically said he works with x-rays and his job is "complicated and technical."
This actually made the show more fun, in my opinion, because at this point they started doing various improvisational skits largely based on us. Every couple of skits, someone would discuss moving to Peoria for their spouse or having a job that was just too complicated to explain. "I'm looking at your x-ray, ma'am." "What's wrong, doctor?" "It's... technical." "Oh no... not my technical!" Then of course there was the character who was overjoyed at finally making it big... in Peoria.
The next day we just killed some time before dropping Josh & Kara off at the airport. It was a really great trip, and so much fun showing them around. We really loved having them stay with us. Lots of memories and inside jokes from only 5 days of togetherness. Can't wait to see who our next visitor(s) will be!!
Here are some pictures from the trip: