home is wherever i'm with you.

mr. lesley and i spent a fabulous time back in illinois seeing a lot of people that make my heart so very happy.

as soon as we got off the train in chicago, kristin (one of my favorite people on the planet) met us for a generous ride back to rocktown and a lunch stop at portillos.
the italian beef is life changing.
mr. lesley just had to have a hot dog. 
if he had it his way, we would be eating hot dogs smothered in ketchup for the rest of our lives.
we spent that evening with the fam (minus my broskie who had to work),
even meeting up with my step-broskie for drinks.
my parents are becoming quite the party animals in their old age.
for new years eve, lele, chrissy, and i decided to take the boys out.
they don't get out much, obviously.
(and maybe we ate in a construction zone, but the food was definitely tasty.)
we pretty much had the perfect new year's group.
after dinner, we went to matt and chrissy's house for some perfectly cut cheese, jello shots in strawberries (chrissy is definitely the hostess with the most-ess)...
rock band (lele and i dominated "don't stop believing", but i guess you could have assumed that, given my history with journey). 
and texas hold 'em.
i pretty much won, or they just stopped the game after an hour and a half because i just kept folding.
you choose.
and in case you were wondering, crackers and m&ms are perfectly reasonable chip substitutes.
then it was time to ring in the new year...
we kissed our honies...
and then lele attacked everyone on the couch.
oh leels...
we passed out soon after the ball dropped and woke up ready to bring in the new year with a side of swedish pancakes at johnny pamcakes. 
one of rockford's finest.
on monday, mr. lesley, my dear friend christina, and i drove to the little gem that is galena, il. to meet up with some of my favorite college girlies, char and mandy.
the burgers are good.
there are good photo opps.
and the decor is somewhat nontraditional.
after mr. lesley retreated to a book store and coffee shop, we strolled the cute little streets, window shopped, drank coffee, and caught up on life. 
moments like these make me wish i lived back in the dorms. 
you know these girls must be pretty amazing if they make me miss those dorms.
after getting back to rockford, mr. lesley and i joined lele, zack, chrissy, matt, jenelle, and joe to celebrate our engagement over sushi.
i am so lucky to have friends from both college and high school (well, elementary school for most of them) that  i am still so close with. 
i love these girlies. a lot.
speaking of high school friends, tuesday morning i got to meet the amazing marci for coffee and good conversation. 
it was so good to catch up on life and laugh a lot.
and marci said she loves my blog (hi marci!!!!) 
finally, we just had to spend more time with our niece and nephew, fiona and jayden.
and, if you can't tell from the pics, mr. lesley is pretty popular with the kiddos (and dogs if you look closely).
jayden taught us to shoot deer...
(he is such a pro, and i definitely struggled).
then it was time to meet his gecko roger.
yes, jayden named his gecko roger.
gosh, i love that kid.
and we finished the night off with a little tea party with princess fiona.
(the picture of mr. lesley fixing fiona's crown makes me melt.seriously. so, so adorable).
once again rocktown did not disappoint.

thank you to everyone who made this trip so great for us.

until next time...

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