Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Vacation was awesome, we're glad to be home, but so glad we went too!

This vacation had lots of firsts in it for John: first time he rode in a commercial plane, first time he flew without being sick and strapped down filled with IV's, first time to meet Aunt Tina, Uncle Dan, Wyatt and Shorty (my sister and her family), first 4-wheeler ride, first time to pet a chicken, first time to pet a cow, first time to pet a horse and first time to ride one, first 4th of July with hearing aids and the first time that he went for 3 weeks without a single therapist or doctor visit of any kind, and that's just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head.

We started out with firsts right out the gate and John enjoyed every one of them. He loved the bus ride from the airport parking to the plane, had a great time running around in the airport, and even did okay when they patted him down and checked to make sure that he wasn't smuggling bombs onto the plane. There was a little deaf girl waiting for her plane too and it's the first time that he's seen someone close to his height sign, he was fascinated and we were amazed at how fast she was and how normal all of this seemed to her family and to John and us too. John loved showing us the plane that was waiting, and walking right up to the door of it, he wasn't too wild about being strapped in his seatbelt but as the plane started to take off he got a huge smile on his face and told us 'plane go up' and enjoyed it greatly. He loved the layover in Denver, well okay, he loved the moving walkways, but wasn't too thrilled with having to get back on the plane. Take off was fun, after that he decided it was time for a nap, mommy and daddy needed one too, so it worked out great.

John was still sound asleep when the plane landed, when we got off the plane and got our luggage and waited for Grandma and Aunt Tina to come get us. He was still sound asleep when we walked outside to get in the van but then he was awake, at least somewhat.

It was so great to see my family. Mom comes to visit every fall, but I hadn't seen Tina since she had come this direction over 4 years ago and Mark and I had not been back to Montana since 2001 when he got the call to come here to Missouri. It's been way too long, but the wait was worth it and the vacation was perfect.

The very first day John met his cousin Shorty he got to play in the tractor

He thought this was pretty cool. He loved getting to pet the animals and meet Wyatt and Uncle Dan too!

This was our favorite kind of vacation, one where just hung out and visited. We mostly stayed at Tina's and played video games, visited and petted animals, but we went down to see Mom's office and she came to hang out with us too. John loved it when the big guys would let him hang out with them and through the visit he could be found with one cousin or the other or with Uncle Dan whenever he had the chance.

Tina tried to teach him to call Uncle Dan 'Uncle Big Nose' but Dan quickly turned it around and to this day whenever John see's his picture he calls him 'Uncle Cute Nose'. John loved getting to hang out with Uncle Cute Nose at every opportunity and learned cool new hand signs to show little girls at church and make them giggle. He often would ask us 'ride motorcycle Uncle cute nose' and of course the answer was 'yes' and off he would go on the 4-wheeler.

While the boys were gone to church camp John spent his time looking for them and hanging out with us. He loved exploring Grandmas office, and the grocery store that was down the walk. There's nothing like new places to explore, and of course everyone is always amazed that he is so little and yet such a presence.

The visit was great for catching up, and Mark and I enjoyed the family, country life and the 4-wheelers too. The last time we saw the boys they were both quite shorter than me, this time Wyatt towers above Mark and while Shorty isn't taller than Mark he's certainly taller than me. We were really impressed with them, at 15 and 16 they have turned into quite the nice young men and not only did they enjoy spending time with their wee cousin but with us too. We had a great time enjoying the family bonds again and look forward to seeing them again next summer when they travel this way for Shorty's baseball camp in Branson.

The last couple days that we were there we tried to squeeze all the fun in that we could. Including a cool 4-wheeler ride for me, with Wyatt running along side, riding on the back, and then giving me a ride back, it was cool and there is no way that I would have driven it that fast with him on the back, but wow!

One of the things that we all wanted to do was let John ride the horse, funny the kid was not nearly as impressed with that as he was the 4-wheeler rides.

Waiting for the horse with Aunt Tina.

Nice Butterscotch, let me just pet you a bit.

Okay bareback is cool, but there isn't enough stuff to hang on up here.

Hmmmmm, saddle, that's an improvement.

But really couldn't we just go ride the 4-wheeler again?

One of John's favorite things to do on vacation was shop in Aunt Tina's walk in pantry, especially for dog treats. By the time we left I think even Digger was hoping that the kid would lay off the treats.

4th of July was spent at my sister's pastor's house less than a mile from where the town of Florence shoots off it's professional fireworks show. This is the first time that John has heard fireworks and we were worried that with the professional show so close and the HUGE fireworks that we had gotten from the reservation that he would be scared and not like them, or only like them after he pulled his hearing aids out. He loved running with the kids until it got dark and then as the first boom hit and the first firework went off he followed it up, waved at it and smiled big. The first half hour of the show he was just enraptured and loved every one of them, then he decided that he was hungry and needed more food, so the last half he spent on a chair with a cup of chips shoveling them in his face as fast as he could. Once in a while a particularly loud or close firework would go off and he'd look up from his chips and wave and smile at it and then back to the chips he went. The evening ended with him getting to ride with dad in an 18-wheeler back to Aunt Tina's. He was amazed and impressed, so I'm told, but by the time I got back there to see him he was on the couch devouring yet another bag of chips, what a piglet!

Wyatt and Shorty had a great time with Wyatt's new bottle rocket pistol and the other various things they invented from there, and Shorty proved that you can shoot yourself in the face with a bottle rocket and still have fun, we were way entertained and their Grandpa would have been proud!

Saying goodbye is always hard for me. Especially when it has been so long since we got to visit and we'll have to wait another year to see them again. But the good-byes inevitably come. The boys got up for one last picture with John, and to say good bye to us

being boys they really didn't get why their silly aunt kept crying and then their mom started too, oh well they were tears of joy for the great time that we had and tears of we'll miss you til next year.

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