Last week was incredible. Just the opportunity to not think about school was exactly what I needed. (Ok. I wasn't able to go the entire time without thinking of school, but for the most part I was successful.) The trip began Saturday night after work with Ray and I taking off to Chicago.
We arrived about 11:30ish to Lansing at the Sleep Inn hotel. (Ray's family is moving, so there isn't much room to crash amongst the boxes.) This was about halfway between the old house in Calumet and his new house in Chicago Heights. We spent most of the trip shuffling between the two.
Sunday morning we headed to his new house to pick up his little brother and take him to their Grandma Lorraine's house, nicknamed Mydear. (Pronounced My-Dear, so I am assuming it's spelled that way... We'll go with that.) Here I met his Aunt Tara, three of his little cousins, and his cousin Wayne. We visited for a while, then headed onto other adventures.
The next stop included hanging out with his high school best friend, Justin, Justin's fiancé, Bobbi Jo, and Ray's cousin Karl. Here I got to hear lots and LOTS of stories about Ray's high school days and watch him light up over the good times. Needless to say, my heart melted.
|Meet some of the groomsmen!|
It was that comment that changed my outlook for the trip entirely. What I have to look forward to, that I was getting to really see what my future was going to be like. I was spending time with the people who will be my new family, who are my new family. I was getting to know the people who will be in my life forever. And I realized at that moment that I wanted to soak up every minute of this trip.
Monday was our day to go to downtown Chicago. We took the L in from Malcolm's, walked around the city, went to Navy Pier, ate at Bubba Gump's, saw Grant Mitchell (a friend from down in the So Ill who happened to be at Navy Pier at the same time we were), rode the Farris wheel, and took in the beautiful weather around us. We then went back Malcolm's town and stopped in a Mexican ice cream shop and a bakery, which was an adventure all on it's own. The day was wonderful.
|You'll have to ask me about the ice-cream trip.|
It was quite an adventure.
|Me and Lee!|
|Ray and Lyiel- Can you tell they are brothers?|
It was a blast. The laughing. The stories. The jabs at the new girl. (Thanks to Tara!) By the time Ray came back in, I honestly felt like I was part of the family.
|Ray, Renae, Me, Tara, and Tiff|
|Mom-in-Law, Me, and Ray|
|Another reason why visiting the in-laws is great|
:) Isn't he adorable!!!
Once we arrived back in Carbondale, I readied myself to head to the reading conference in Springfield. That deserves it's own post, so I will fast-forward to the return on Saturday night. Not wanting Spring Break to end, we immediately headed to Paducah as soon as I got back into Marion. (I have an insane love of Paducah, and if Ray happened to get a job there and want to move there, I would say yes in a heartbeat.) We stopped along the way in Metropolis to view Community Christian Church. I personally love this church, and even Ray said it was the first place where he could see us getting married. That, however, is a decision still yet to be made. We then went to a local coffee shop in Paducah, walked to the river, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We spent a few hours just walking around as we waited to eat at a restaurant down one of the alleys. It was an absolutely perfect night and the best way to end our week.
|Down by the river in Paducah|