Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ohio Trip Part One

I've been a bad, bad blogger to which I apologize profusely. It's the same ol' excuse: We've been busy. Anyway, I'm ready to blog now.

On July 22, Mason and I flew to Ohio from Austin. Mark flew to El Paso that same day, so we were able to hang out at Austin-Bergstrom while we waited. This helped because Mark could carry some of our carryons to our gate. We had lunch together before our flight left.

Mark and Mason, waiting for our flight at the gate.
I hate when they pose like this!

Mason being a dork on the plane, acting like we're going to crash. This was THE SMALLEST plane ever. It had only three seats across. Mason sat in the one seat aisle and I sat across the aisle from him. The flight attendant didn't sit anyone beside me, so we had plenty of room to move around.

We arrived in Cleveland around 3:00. Mom picked us up and we were soon on our way to Rittman. Shelly and her kids arrived about 30 minutes later. We hadn't seen them since December 24, 2006. I missed them so much! That night, the kids played and we caught up.

The next day, we drove to Amish Country in Berlin with my aunt, Izzy, and my cousin-in-law (?) Ashley and her two kids, Ella and Lainey. Last time we were home, Lainey was still in utero (but just barely!). We had fun, going to the Schrock farm like we always do. Mom and Izzy took the kids on buggy and train rides while Shelly and I shopped. I bought her birthday present and wished I could buy a huge Amish buggy wheel, but decided it wouldn't fit in our flight allowance. So, when Mom moves, I am going to get my wheel! We have been bringing Mason to this farm since he was four and the same Amish man always drives their buggy. Afterwards, we ate at the Farmstead which is my favorite Amish restaurant. I love Amish noodles. We also went to Heinie's Cheese Chalet and bought our weight in cheese. On our way home, Jeanie's car (plus Shelly) stopped at Ashery's to buy bulk seasonings while we drove to Anstutz's for deli meat.

From the left, Ella, Lainey, Ashley, me, Mason, Izzy, Jacqui, Shelly, and Connor. Mom was the photographer.
Jacqui, Mason, and Connor waiting to ride the buggy.
Ella, Izzy, Lainey, and Ashley.
On the Amish buggy.

Checking out the farm animals.
Forget Izzy's expression... I just thought it was funny seeing all of the Crocs!
Lainey looks just like my cousin, Nick.
Jacqui, Mason, and a goat.

On the train ride.
Mason, Jaqui, and Connor being silly in the car. Connor liked going down the "Big Hills" in Amish country.

After dinner, the kids were playing outside and Mom's neighbor, Mr. Potts came over and asked if the kids wanted to ride on the old time car he built in the late 70s. We have pictures of all the Willard Street kids (the originals) riding around on this thing with Rick Potts pulling them. Well, Mr. Potts has now attached it to his John Deere, so it's much easier. He let Jaqcui drive it around the street once and then Mason. Afterwards, he let both of them drive his riding lawn mower. All I can say is that Thank goodness Mason still has seven years before he gets his license and Mark will be in charge of teaching him to drive.

Jacqui driving. Connor had been riding Mom's scooter and wouldn't take the helmet off. I think he was afraid fo Jacq's driving!

Mason's turn.

On Mr. Potts' lawn mower.

Jaqui's turn.

Thursday, we let Mason and Jacqui go to the orchard by themselves. I grew up going to the orchard daily during the summer and all of Mom's grandkids enjoy going. Shelly and I took the kids swimming at the Rec Center. Then, we went to the Sleepwalker Parade with Shelly's college roommate, Susan and her kids, and out for dinner to Marie's pizza afterwards. I didn't take any pictures. Bad Kiki. We did run into old neighbors (Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Breece) and family (the whole Leatherman clan minus Megan).

Friday and Saturday, Mom and Izzy had a garage sale. I wanted no part in it (I HATE garage sales)... until Mom uncovered old Precious Moments I used to collect. I made over $40. hehe. Shelly and I took the kids to see Great-Grandma Steiner at her new room at the Apostolic home (she was just moved the day before) and then visited with our family friend, Cookie. We had Lion's Club chicken BBQ and then we actually went to the Sleepwalker Sale. I know, I had said I wasn't going to but in the end, decided what the hell. Major Rittman Elementary School drama had happened earlier that day, so we spent most of the time talking to Mom's coworkers. I did get to visit with a few old classmates that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. When we got home, Misty brought Mya up to the house for 30 minutes to visit. I missed them so much!

Mom had bought the kids Toypedos after seeing Mason's in Austin. These toys are HUGE here. Anyway, Connor LOVED playing with the Toypedo. This kid, in true Steiner fashion, is a FISH!!
Mason challenged Aunt Shelly to a race. It's been a long time since Shelly's been on a swim team, but she still has an amazing breaststroke. I don't think we will be seeing a Dara Torres-like comeback for Shelly, though.
Mason, Connor, and Jacqui at the rec.

Mason and Connor advertising that ALL ITEMS ARE NEGOTIABLE at the garage sale. Surprisingly, no one negotiated the price of two little boys!

Connor, Jacqui, and Mason at the Sleepwalker Sale.
Jacqui wanted funnel cake.
Connor wanted a bright blue, chocolate covered frozen banana with sprinkles.
And Messy Mason had an elephant ear.

Shelly and I had taken the kids to Kohls to get coordinating outfits and then to Walmart to have their pictures taken. Afterwards, we went to the Barn in Smithville. The kids loved it. Mom, Shelly, and I had the tilapia and it was wonderful. Afterwards, Mom took the kids to the pond while Shelly and I shopped for Vera Bradley at Buchanan Place (I ended up buying three new purses!), then took the kids to Toyrifix where Mason bought some new knights. He has collected these knights since he was three. He also got a How to Draw Wall-E book that he and Connor would use. After that, we all got ice cream at the Oak Cupboard.

At the Barn with Grandma. The kids at the pond.

Grandma and her grandkids at the Barn.

At the Oak Cupboard.

Mason, Jacqui, and Connor got along so well. Mason and Connor became fast friends. I haven't shared it here and only alluded to it on my myspace blog, but Shelly's son, Connor, was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, after years of waiting. He used to be obsessed with Buzz Lightyear, but is now obsessed with Spiderman. EVERYTHING is Spiderman. I forgot to mention that Mason and I brought my Mom a webcam and I connected her to Skype so we were able to webchat with Mark every night(and now can webchat with Mom all of the time). Connor talked to Uncle Mark about Spiderman (and Shelly best be getting her webcam soon so we can chat more!). Anyway, one of the characteristics of Asperger's is social interaction. Shelly is concerned about Connor starting kindergarten because he doesn't interact with children as "normal" children do. Well, you wouldn't believe that watching Mason and Connor play together. Sure, they mostly played Spiderman, but Shelly and Mom were quite surprised that Connor would play army guys with Mason. Anyway, the last time I saw Connor, he wasn't very affectionate. Wow -- what a wonderful surprise for Aunt Kris to be given so many hugs and kisses by that little guy. Shelly and Judd have worked very hard with Connor and he's such a great kid. I know it's hard on Shelly, a kindergarten teacher, to not be working with him on his ABCs and site words this summer, but rather on his behavior and the social aspects of kindergarten. Anyway, I was so blessed that they joined us on our trip. I miss them dearly and can't wait to see them next summer!

We were anxious to go on the next leg of our trip -- to Columbus, Mason's hometown. Originally, it was just Mom, Mason, and I going, but Shelly and the kids ended up joining us and I'm so glad that they did. I'll add those pictures later.

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