Spending time with the Shultz family

I suppose that after 3 1/2 months of being at home Ian and I (travelers ~ with a love for home ~ at heart) were itching to test the waters on traveling with a baby. Somehow we thought it would be a good idea to spend a week in the greater DC area, follow it up with a fast-paced week at home, and then head to western Ohio to visit some of my family. The trips were wonderful, but I must say that we are exhausted!

Thursday afternoon Kylie boarded a plane for the second time in her life (well, actually her fourth flight because it took three to get home from Guangzhou) as we flew from home to Dayton. She was amazingly well behaved on the plane and many of our fellow travelers commented on what a little darling she was. I think the most entertaining for her was looking out the window, both when she could see the ground and when all she could see were clouds. She got excited about the fluffy white clouds and started slapping her leg to call them like she does for Maya.

Aunt Carolyn was waiting with a smile for us as we passed out of the security area. Kylie acted as if she remembered her and doled out some big hugs as we waited for our luggage and then held her hand as we walked to the car. I've often felt that I could live in southwest Ohio, after all, my dad's three sisters are still in the area along with three of my cousins and my grandfather still lives on his farm. This trip was no exception, twenty minutes northwest of Dayton we had left behind the city and the familiar sights of corn and soybean fields freshly planted began to welcome us "home." Kylie too was mesmerized by row after row in field after field of corn barely six inches high now (that I know will be well over my head by the time we return in early August for my cousin's wedding). I love the bright green against the dark soil, the old farmhouses siting just feet away from the fields, and the views you get across amazingly flat land.

This time in Ohio was very special as Kylie met most of the rest of my dad's side of the family. We enjoyed a large family picnic Saturday night. Kylie surprised us by allowing the first person besides Ian or I to give her a bottle. Jami must have "the touch" because Kylie chugged down her milk in no time flat while she held her. She also enjoyed being carried around by cousin Colt and laughed with cousin Lori as they walked.

We had visits we had with smaller groups of family. We stayed with Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Lynn and went to church with Aunt Nancy and Uncle Roger. Kylie enjoyed the grandparent toy stash at both of their homes.

Aunt Nancy's mini Tupperware set.

Aunt Carolyn's doll chair and wooden little people. (I think I know why Fisher Price changed the Little People to larger plastic size...)

Stacking blocks with Great-Grandpa at Aunt Carolyn's house.

Perhaps the highlight of this trip though was taking Kylie to grandpa's house. Waves of nostalgia swept over me as I watched my little girl play with some of the same toys I used to pull out of the toy box at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Memories flooded back as we walked the perimeter of the farm with Grandpa with him stopping to show Kylie baby swallows in the bird house, deer tracks in the cantaloupe patch, and fish in the pond. As she drank it all in, I felt confident that she will develop his love and respect for nature.

In my mind as we walked I remembered so much about my childhood summer days spent on that farm from helping weed the soybean fields (and how a young Traci got out of it by pulling up soybean plants and then innocently asking, "Is this a weed?") to running from the bulls in the cow pasture to the safety of the big red barn to big family picnics on July 4th for Grandpa's birthday where we would alternate our time between the summerhouse for food, the volleyball court for fun and the pool for cooling off. I can hear we grand kids (8 of us back then, now 9) fighting for the one bathroom, smell Grandma's homemade spice cake and taste the sweetcorn, green beans, tomatoes and cantaloupe fresh out of Grandpa's garden. For just a minute I was 10 again as the happy memories flooded my mind...

Then I opened my eyes and saw that the screens are off the summerhouse, the pool has been filled in, the barn is now white siding, and the fence for the cow pasture is long gone. I'm saddened as I remember that grandma and my dad are no longer with us and that it is a rare occasion that brings all the grand kids back to the Shultz farm all at once.

And then I realize that while Kylie won't know the white farmhouse quite the same way I did, the stories that I (and Traci and Mama) tell her will create happy memories, just as the stories Dad used to tell me about days gone by made happy memories for me. Time marches on and things change, but we get to bring along our memories with us and those memories will go on into the next generation of Shultz family.


Robin said...

Wow.. looks like everyone had a great time. We had a pretty nice weekend here in Ohio except for Sunday with the cool weather and rain. We live about 30 minutes east of Dayton airport so you were very close. :-) Small world

Anonymous said...

My heart is over-joyed that Kylie was able to meet her wonderful Ohio family. Was happy to hear that she was so drawn to Daddy's gentle love. The picture of her walking with him back the lane brings back so many memories of when you girls were that age and he'd take you for walks.

Am glad to have you three home safely once again.
Love, LaoLao