We finally got our car back on Wednesday, I think. It turned out it wasn't the transmission and only the O2 sensor, so that was good news. The rest of our time at home included packing, cleaning up a bit, and getting ready for our big trip to Illinois for Will's wedding and our Champaign Visit.
On Friday, we woke up at 1 a.m. to leave by 2 for LAX. I do remember being a morning person at some point in my life, but I have since become very much NOT a morning person. Waking up with only four hours of sleep under our belt was not ideal :-p. I slept a bit on the way to the airport and a bit more on the plane, and that and our second winds got us through the rest of the day. We landed in Peoria at about 2 p.m. CST...and thus started our whirlwind of four days. As soon as we landed, we got our rental car and went to get Adam's tux, close my Regions Bank account, go to Target to pick up stuff we couldn't bring on the plane, and headed to the hotel to check in. We showered, changed, and headed off to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. At the rehearsal, I was designated as "The Starter" which meant I knocked on the door when it was time for Will and the pastor to come out...but I also helped with getting everyone down the aisle. We had dinner at Olive Garden...which was delicious...followed by Adam's mom's cheesecakes...which were also quite good. They were so good, in fact, that after raving after raving from the serving staff who had some, the manager gave Jane (Momma Kuester) a $25 dollar gift certificate for making the staff so happy. It was funny. After dinner, Adam, Noah, Emma and I went down to the bar for our complimentary drinks. We had fun chatting for a while and then headed back upstairs to watch a movie...which turned into us just crashing in the first 2 minutes. (Side note: when checking out the DVD, Adam found out that Joel McHale (from The Soup and Community) would be staying in our hotel the next night. I made it my mission to meet him).
Saturday, we slept in a bit before we headed to breakfast and got ready to head to the church. We arrived at 11:30 to start primping and pictures (which I actually got be in.) The ceremony started pretty much on time and went well...as did the reception. We can tell you more about both in person sometime. Towards the end of the reception, I remembered my mission to meet Joel McHale and headed over to the hotel with Adam's aunt Mary to try and find out if he was there. After less than a minute or two, I had gotten enough out of the conversations of people in the bar asking if that was for the dude from the show to know he had checked in and was not there. So I went to the front desk and asked them if they'd do what they could to introduce him to Will and Mary (who just got married and would think that was the best wedding gift ever.) She said she'd do what she could, but in the meantime, the bartender came by, asked if he was in Room 912, and they said, yeah, he should be up there. I left really proud of myself for my super sleuth skills...and Mary left amazed at how I collected so much info so quickly. I gave the info to Will and Mary since they were staying on the same floor, and also gave them a fool proof plan to meet him. They succeeded in meeting him....as did Adam when we got back. He went down to the bar to get us sodas and ended up sharing an elevator ride and a short conversation with Joel. Of course the one person TRYING to meet him is the one that completely missed out. After that, we tired to rewatch Tropic Thunder (the movie we slept through the night before), but I quickly lost interest and instead devoted myself to keeping Adam awake since it was his idea to watch it again. Then we crashed...another late night without much sleep.
Sunday morning, we woke up early in a failed attempt to run into Joel McHale at breakfast. After breakfast and packing, we hit the road to Champaign to make it to WRCC in time for church. It was great to see everyone there and get to hang out for a bit. We headed over to Za's for lunch with the Gappers...which was also good times. I'd love to list everyone we got to see and spend time with, but this journal entry is already getting quite long. After lunch, we headed to Jon's house for a tour of the place and briefly saw his roommates (they were fairly consumed watching Mall Cop). Adam and I went to Eli and Nic's for a bit to catch up a bit, and then continued our whirlwind at Ben and Crystal's to visit them, Ezra, and meet Emma. Time flew by pretty quickly and we headed over to Dan and Nola's to see our small group, some other friends from church, and watch the Montgomery's episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (it's on ABC.com if you missed it). By the time all the other attendees had left, it was getting late, again, and we were wiped out, so we settled in and crashed yet again.
Monday, we woke up around 8, packed, had breakfast and watched 7th Heaven with Nola, and then headed to Curtis Orchard with Kelli, Maggie, and Ben and Jo, Ethan, and Emily. I saw some of my old Cheetah students there and laughed when I thought about them telling their parents they saw me and the potential for their parents not to believe them since I live in California, now. It quickly became nap time for the little ones, so we parted ways and Adam and I headed to campus so he could visit some friends and professors and I could get a new cord form my MacBook. After that, we stopped by Salt and Light and WBGL to visit people there and then made one last trip to Za's before heading for the airport to head home.
Needless to say, it was a bit of a whirlwind and we're both still getting over exhaustion. Yesterday, I went to the dentist to get a deep cleaning and irrigation and had a numb right side of my face for the rest of the afternoon. Heidi made us some homemade lasagna (with homemade noodles) since I'm not supposed to eat anything crunchy for a few days, so we enjoyed dinner and brownies with them and then went to bed to catch up on some sleep.
We are SO grateful for the time we had in Illinois. It was really really good to reconnect with so many family members and friends in person. We can't wait to see you guys in our neck of the woods and to actually be able to show you what we've been doing out West. We could do without the frigid cold we seem to have brought back with us, though. We left with temps in the 90s and now have a freeze warning for tonight! Anyway, thank you to everyone for your hospitality and for spending time with us. It meant a lot and we're looking forward to seeing you sooner rather than later. Peace!