Thursday, July 25, 2013

Home Trippin!

After a year in Shanghai, Chris and I were ready to make our first home trip back to the States for some friends, family, food, and fun.  For three weeks we caught up with our people in Chicago, St. Louis, Charleston and Philadelphia.

Stop one on our three-week tour de US was the Windy City.  It was wonderful to spend the week of the fourth of July with family and friends.

I was so happy to spend the week with my father in law, brother in law, sister in law, and my 17 month old niece Annabelle.  She had a great time playing on her swing set and wearing her new dress from China.

Each 4th of July, the family gathers in front of the Griffith fire station to watch the Independence Day Parade.

Uncle Steve drives his family in an old time firetruck in the parade.

Cousin John waves on the fire truck.

Then he got a cool surprise from cousin Scott.

After the parade, the fam came over to Casa Wilcox for burgers and brats.  I think there are more people each time the family gathers.

Annabelle double fists her corn on the cob.

At sunset, we set off fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.  I especially liked the H7N9 fireworks.  

Crystal and Sam help Annabelle set off her very own confetti popper.  She had comfiest seat in the house!

Happy 4th of July!
The next day, we went to the Shed Aquarium with the Gleim crew!

Annabelle had a great time joking around with Uncle Chris.

C had a great time petting the stingrays while G looked on.

It was fun to share this experience with our friends!

Annabelle enjoyed pretending she was a penguin!

After seeing all of these fish, I was ready to eat this guy!  So we headed to the Ameristar casino for the all you can eat crab leg buffet.

Chris was super excited to go to Three Floyd's, a local brewery, the next evening.

We had a great time catching up and debating with friends!

St. Louis
After a whirlwind week in Chicago, I was ready for some down time.  Mom recently had knee replacement surgery, so I took this time to visit with her at home and fill up on local delicacies.

Mom was a trooper!  She would exercise her leg on her machine for 4 hours per day!

My brother, Dan, came in town for the weekend.  He demonstrates how to use the machine in this picture. 
Pasta House toasted ravioli was a must!! 

We also filled up on White Castle hamburgers!!

On Wednesday night, Chris took me to see Dave Matthews at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

Dave played a GREAT set!  Photo Source: Dave Matthews Band Website

Next on our itinerary was a four-day stop in Charleston.  While Chris met with his Bosch colleagues, I had a busy few days meeting with friends and stocking up on supplies. 

I caught up with my Windsor Hill peeps at LaHa.  It was wonderful to see everyone!

Mel, Kristin, Chris and I then headed out for hibachi.

Chris and I headed to Cypress Thursday evening for a farewell dinner.  I once told the waiter that if I was to be executed,  the Almond Fried Goat Brie Salad (pictured above) would be part of my last supper.  The salad is that yummy! 
We drove by our old house.  It looks like our tenants are taking great care of it!  Oddly, it did not feel strange to stay at the Residence Inn rather than the house.

The final stop on our trip was Philadelphia to visit my brother, sister, brother-in-law and niece. We spent the weekend catching up, celebrating the princesses' birthdays, and playing Trivial Pursuit.

My 2 1/2 year old niece, Amelia, models her Chinese dress.

Let's tickle Uncle Chris and wake him up!

Amelia had a great time copying Uncle Dan at dinner.
On Saturday, Amelia did a great job of showing us the Camden Aquarium.

She had fun goofing around in a shark.

Amelia and Uncle Chris went camping in the living room.

They also had a good time playing Beauty and the Beast in the dancing room.

After three weeks and millions of calories, we are back in Shanghai, and ready for another couple years of Chinese shenanigans.  Let the fun begin!