My little brother, Jake, came home from his deployment over in Afghanistan!
At first, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it home to see him, but at the last minute it all worked out.
My flight flew into Springfield, Illinois, which is close to my hometown. For those who have never been to Central Illinois, people think that I exaggerate when I talk about how flat it is. But I’m not. It’s flat.
These photos were taken 50 miles apart, so it’s not just a single flat area. It’s all flat.
I was able to make it home in time for his welcome home party Friday.
We got there by 3pm, and they were already hours into the party. And not exactly sober. But after 6 1/2 months in a war zone, he can party if he wants.
It was great to see his friends as well. Since my brother and I are just over a year apart, I grew up with these guys.
Since my mom drove to the party (I flew in and didn’t have a car), I had a drink with my brother.
That night, I met up with some friends of mine from high school. Despite all the years (and miles between us), we’ve stayed close and I count them as some of my best friends. We went to dinner, gossiped and went back to my friend’s parent’s house to stay up late and watch Disney movies (I’m not kidding. Cinderella 2. No judging. It was great).
I’m sad every time I have to leave them. I wish we all lived in the same city. Or the same house. As forever roommates.
Saturday was spent hanging out with my parents, since my brother was still asleep.
We had lunch at Monicals, which is the best pizza place ever. Seriously. I love some good Chicago style pizza. But when I’m craving a slice, I want Monicals. Their thin crust is hard to describe, but it’s delicious. Sadly, there are no Monicals outside of the small, Midwest towns, let alone out East.
I was also able to make it to a baby shower for another good friend of mine (again, since my brother was still asleep…he sleeps a lot even when he’s not hungover, so when he is all bets are off). It was one of the best baby showers I’ve been too. There was corn hole and a keg. We were all able to relax, joke, eat, drink and enjoy the company. My friend and her husband are not stuffy or super girly. We played games, like Pin the Sperm on the Egg. Seriously. And the sperm had her husband’s face on them.
It was hysterical. I didn’t even hit the paper. So many good jokes came from this game as well (as you can imagine).
She got so many good gifts and should be set (for a little bit at least) when the little one comes later this summer. She looked adorable and pregnant.
I’m just not sure how she was surviving because I was hot. She should have been sweating up a storm. But, again, she looked adorable.
That night, I went with my dad to the Factory Art Studios (which I’ll talk about more tomorrow) for the Cinco de Mayo night and then we hit up the Mexican place in town for dinner. I love a good tamale.
Early Sunday morning, my dad drove me back to Springfield to catch my plane. I made it to Chicago alright. And then the storm hit. We had a two hour weather delay. They would start loading the plane, lightning would strike, and they’d have to stop. This happened about three times before we could actually take off. I got home much later than I wanted to and just wanted to relax a little before starting working on Monday. So I did just that.
I was really glad I got to go home and see my brother. I’m so glad that he is safely back in the States. It was an added bonus that all my friends were also at home and I could see them.
Back to the real world.