Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

Alright, now that I've spent the day half sleeping/half catching up on my TiVo, I feel like I have to do something, so I'm doing what requires the least amount of physical activity I can think of: hopping on the computer to tell  you about my Thanksgiving weekend.

We left Chicago Wednesday night and surprisingly traffic was actually better than our usual Friday night get-outta-town drive.  We got to the Quad Cities (QC) around nine to be greeted by my brother (who also traveled from Chicago and arrived 15 minutes ahead of us), my mom, dad and Harris Pizza; yay for a local fav.  After chowing down, we stopped over at a friend's house to watch the second half of the Illinois basketball game (a must for Ben since my parent's don't have cable). 

Thursday morning was one of my favorite Thanksgiving Traditions: the 5 mile turkey trot hosted by the local YMCA.  It was my 10th Turkey Trot (9 of them in the QC and one in Chicago).  It certainly wasn't my fastest, but it was a perfect morning for it.  Low 50's and sunny.  My mom and I ran together the majority of the race until the last mile.  My official race time was 9:14, which I suppose is okay considering the course is all hills compared to the flatness of Chicago.

Thanksgiving for Ben and I consisted of two meals, the first being at his parents.  They hosted about 25 people from both sides of their families (Ben's dad and mom's).  It was nice to see everyone and catch up.  One of Ben's cousins is recently engaged, so we had fun chatting about wedding stuffs and a cousin on Ben's other side is slowly trying to convince me to sign of for a sprint triathlon (something that is on my bucket list).  After a full plate of food (the best/most moist turkey I've had) and a few hours to unwind, we headed to my parents.

In recent years, my immediate family has started having a meal with just us to accommodate Ben and I trying to spend times with both families.  Our meal consisted of my parents, sister, brother and grandmother on my dad's side.  My dad cooks our Thanksgiving meal and it is always amazing.  His homemade stuffing includes fresh sage and rosemary that makes my stomach growl.  His gravy (homemade) is to die-for as well.

After dinner, Ben and I gave my parents a thank-you gift for watching Oscar while we were in Ireland, which included souvenirs from Ireland as well as our favorite family board game (which I posted about last Christmas): Ticket to Ride.  It's usually $50, but Amazon had it for $36 online recently (price is already rising, which I anticipated as the holidays near) and with Target's price matching Amazon this year, plus my Target red card, I bought it for well below $50. The game is set up for five players, but there was six of us, so Ben and I teamed up. Family game night with wine is a new adult-favorite memory.  And, it doesn't hurt to win too.

Friday morning we had a nice family breakfast before saying our goodbyes to my brother and then it was off to the salon to get my hair done.  I hadn't seen my stylist in months so it was great to catch up with her, not to mention, she just opened a new salon at the beginning of the month; which is gorgeous!

After hair (pics later), I met my dad and sister at my favorite lunch spot, Cafe Fresh. Following a delicious bowl of chicken enchilada soup, it was time to commence my second favorite Thanksgiving tradition, the Christmas tree hunt. We picked up my mom, Ben and Oscar and were on our way to Mumma's Tree Farm.

Since we're particular about our tree (must be at least nine feet tall) and have soft needles, we didn't have a lot of options this year.  To be exact, there were four trees that met our needs. Surprisingly, we all agreed on one tree, so my dad got to sawing and then we hauled it back to be "shaken" and wrapped. 

It was probably the fastest we've ever selected a tree and put it up in the stand!

We had reservation for our families to eat together at Ben's parent's country club, but first we stopped by my grandparents to see my extended family and to celebrate my grandpa's 91st birthday.

Saturday morning my mom, sister and I decided to do a bit of shopping.  You guys, I was at JoAnn Fabrics for two bloody hours!!  I can't say more about that because I'm working on a gift, but I will say it was insane.  From there a stop to Vonmaur was a must (although I was sadly disappointed).  We ended up at Cafe Indigo for lunch (yum) before heading home so that my sister could catch the new James Bond movie with a friend. 

While she was on her way, we decided it was the perfect afternoon for a movie and decided on Life of Pi with my aunt.  My sister's movie ended up being sold out, so my parents, sister, aunt, and I saw Life of Pi in 3D.  I'd read the book a while ago and vaguely remembered it, but the movie was simplify mystifying.  It is beautiful and I'd highly recommend it, even if you haven't read the book.

After our movie, Ben and I met some friends downtown for a Mexican dinner at La Flama before checking out a new hot spot, Quad City Entertainment.

This new facility opened and features an arcade, bar, bowling, and laser tag.  We met more friends there (I got to see my newly engaged friend, MT's ring in person and her adorable fiance).  We were put on a wait list for bowling, but grabbed a drink and started catching up.

Some of us decided to play laser tag. $6 for 15 minutes of excitement was well worth it.  The laser tag "room" has two levels and plenty of spots to hide behind.  When you shoot  your laser, you can see it going across the room to help you figure out where you're aiming.  By the time we were down, we were all rather hot and sweaty, but I am happy to report that (somehow) I was #1 on my team!

Sunday we set out alarms and got up early to get on the road to be home before the noon Bears game.  However, of course I'm terrible at just sitting still, so I ended up going to pick up a Christmas tree.  While it's certainly not as fun as chopping one down on a farm, our tree tradition in Chicago has been to pick one out of Menard's parking lot.  So, the fourth year, our tree is from Menards.  We put the tree up off the ground because Oscar likes to "explore" in it otherwise.  I still need a tree skirt, but here is our little beauty

and that was my Thanksgiving weekend!  I hope you had a fun and exciting weekend as well.

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