Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Week In Pennsylvania

On April 2nd, we left the ship in the morning and went to our respective airports since Holland America flew us separately. Kelly had a HORRIBLE flight full of turbulence and was terrified to fly again, especially since the news was peppered with stories of faulty Southwest planes. She was relieved when she landed and was picked up by the Dice Family and even more-so when Ron's flight landed and we were all piled in a van together. 

After a quick dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery at King of Prussia Mall, we headed to the Dice's house to settle in. We were met with the best welcome home ever! The kids had made a really cute sign for us, complete with drawings and hand-prints.

Most of our time was spent visiting with the Dice Family. Kristen and Kelly were happy to be reunited in the kitchen. They love to cook together and and try out new recipes and creative ideas. One night we decided to bring Puerto Rico to Strasburg and the girls tried to recreate our favorite Tuesday night dinner - Mofongo! It was pretty successful but we forgot to take pictures of our cultural confection! Maybe next time. During the week we also made stuffed steak, a couple of Kelly's super yummy salads with homemade salad dressing, and enchiladas.

 We also enjoyed playing with the kids. Kelly nicknamed Emma, "Eminem" a few years ago, and while Emma thinks she's named after one of her favorite chocolate candies, Kelly occasionally teases her and calls her "Slim Shady." Below is Emma's reaction to that. What a ham!

This has been Hannah's first year in school and we enjoyed meeting her at the bus stop and hearing her chatter on about her day. We are especially amused that despite the constant chatter, if you ask her directly what she learned at school today, she'll get quiet and say "nothing." Classic kid behavior.

We celebrated our anniversary on April 5th. We started a tradition on year one that we would eat a cheeseburger every year on our anniversary partially because we are always on a budget and partially so we could take the pressure off of celebrating on the "day of." This year we chose the brand new Lancaster Red Robin which had opened only the day before. The Dice's joined us for burgers, root beer floats (one of which ended up mostly ON Ron and Emma instead of IN them), fries, balloons and a visit from a very attentive "Red."

The girls really enjoyed their balloons!

In regards to the picture below, Kelly is appalled that the only one they have of one of us with Grayson is one with Ron holding him. Kelly and Grayson enjoy each other a lot. He loves to smile and giggle at her. Cute, cute baby!

One day toward the end of our visit, Kristen took us to Dude with the Food - a food truck on a corner down the road. She LOVES the Beer Can Chicken and since she had been raving about it since last year, Ron and I split an order of it too. It was delicious and though we both ate until we were ready to pop, there was a lot left over. It was a nice day, so we were able to eat outside... but having just come from six months in the Caribbean, we were still pretty darn cold in 72 degree weather!

After lunch, we shuffled right next door to Java Junction where Ron got a chocolate banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting that was amazing, and Emma got a Red Velvet cupcake. The kid loves anything Red Velvet! She gave it a thumbs up.

Also during our visit we got together with a group of people from Sight & Sound for a lunch at Olive Garden. It was last minute and about 20 people still showed up to say hello. It was so nice for us to see so many of our favorite people who we have missed over the last six months. It struck us that even at the last minute, so many of our PA friends came out to see us while in contrast, we had to cancel an event in California that we had been planning for a month because nobody could make time to come and visit due to their busy schedules. This served to remind us how much we value our PA friends and the kind of relationships we developed during our two years in Amish Country. All of which has served as a catalyst for a desire to return to our Lancaster home.

We also got to see Joseph at Sight & Sound (Shout out to Zach Cameron) with Hannah & Emma. Afterwards Ron was able to visit with some of the people who weren't able to make it to lunch a few days before. We wish we could have seen everyone we wanted to see and spend time with in PA and appreciated the endless stream of invites and requests for time together and we look forward to returning soon to see you all!

 Finally it was time to head off to California, and we reluctantly headed to the airport. Thankfully we were able to change our tickets and fly together this time. Kelly is still not a fan of flying (which we think is strange because she has always enjoyed air travel in the past) and she wasn't too happy about the amount of turbulence out of Denver. But in the end, we made it to Orange County safely. 

We're sure there will be plenty to blog about in the upcoming weeks. Meanwhile, keep us in your prayers as we wait to find out what our next adventure will be!

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