Well, what happened was, we were in America, and I mostly write stuff here so our parents in America can read about it. Our being there made posting temporarily obsolete. But now we are back in Korea, a week and a half in, mostly recovered from jet lag, readjusting to smells and rhythms and sounds. I have pictures for the parents/grandparents to see, so back to posting.
During our last couple days before America, I saw these brave, little kindie kids cut a colorful line across the frozen park to have their outdoor play.
We were not so brave, and obviously Joash got real weird during it.
We did some baking activities, though, and he floured up his sweet face.
And adventured by putting his chair and then himself onto the table.
For some reason, my childhood friends keep saying that he gets this look of general disgust from me. I have no idea at all what they mean.
One of the first things we did while we were in Ohio was take this kid to Bass Pro Shop and buy him an AK-47. Duh. Just kidding. We took him to see Santa and a giant fish tank and a Nutcracker.
His love for cars grew exponentially when he found the stores Grandma Jean had prepared for him.
And he liked working some tools by the light of the Christmas tree. Also, this child has not stopped eating since the day of his birth.
He shared some snacks with his cousin Ada.
On Christmas, we went to our house where we don't live and opened some presents. Joash could not have been more bored with the process of opening presents and wrenching them from their wire-tied packaging, but he did enjoy playing with them all afterward.
Dan bought a bunch of traditional gifts in Mongolia, including this traditional men's hat for Ben.
Cousin Abraham got restocked with Rescue Bots. Annie helped him figure out some transformations.
And then Grandma helped him figure out some transformations, too.
And then it was time for the prize of all prizes, a Rescue Bots play station.
Joash was both terrified and intrigued by a rowdy remote controlled car.
And then he went for some uncle snuggles and zoned out by the tree.
Boys will be boys.
Joash truly has the sweetest, most patient cousins. Luke relaxed with him on the floor while he worked on a bread roll. I kept trying to take the roll from him, thinking he'd finished, but he carried it around most of the night, taking periodic bites as he climbed up and down the stairs and ran around.
Maggie and Annie shared some play expertise with him, and I think he's better for it.
One of his favorite activities was hunting down Monkey the cat. Poor cat. Lucky Joash was not quite fast enough to catch him.
We went over to Entertrainment Junction, the largest indoor train display in the world.
Joash loved it.
There was a kid section with Thomas trains that you could control by pushing buttons. That made Joash really happy until the kids pushing the buttons left, and then he got mad.
I didn't take many pictures of the train set because we were busy hunting down 21 Santas and a scavenger's list of notable scenes.
Grandma and her boys. One kid always has to be mean mugging. It's kid code.
Once we got to Florida, Joash spent some nights in the lap of luxury getting back scratches from his Grandpa.
There was a great Florida fog one morning, and we were always up to see the entire morning, such as it were.
International travel is hard for a kid. I hope I do it just once more in my lifetime and then never again for any of my other kids. The recovery is just too intense for me. Grandma Hernley gave him one of his few American baths, which he found overly-traumatic, for some reason.
But what Grandma Hernley also gave him was his main source of Southern joy, homemade Micro Machine drag racing down the stairs.
This was pretty much non-stop after she set it up. We'd put it away, but he would find the board and try to carry it over to the stairs. Silly baby.
Somehow I left a weird filter on and got strange colors, but I loved my boy explorer in all of these, so I couldn't delete them. This one is notable for Dan's odd facial expression.
He's a real walker now.
He isn't much for holding hands, so I wanted to capture maybe this only time it will ever happen again.
Babe Ruthing on his walk.
So a huge part of every Westby kid's life is going on a boat ride with Uncle John. I have the insanest, hyperbolic memories of boat rides all around Charlotte County. Mostly we always thought we were going to die, but we didn't mind going out in such an exciting way.
Strapping in. Loving then hating it. But he did really well with the life vest once he realized it was non-negotiable.
We passed him around as his disinterest grew.
Over to Papa for a while.
Back to Mama.
He got cranky because we ended up going on a really beautiful boat ride all throughout Turtle Creek, but we had to do some low-speed maneuvering to get there.
So we threw the wolves to him. Bruno was a good sport.
Later we went to my cousin Heidi's house and played with glow sticks. Banyan helped him figure it out.
And Willow was a phenomenon. I need a ten year old girl. She was constantly picking Joash up, which he usually enjoyed, and chasing him away from the stairs and making sure we knew when he was into mischief. He loved her so much he even gave her kisses. That's a big deal.
And what a good big cousin and sister she is reading books to the babies.
He is a habitual multiple dipper. Same chip every time.
My Aunt Peggy mentioned the fountains at Laishley Park, and I'm glad she did.
There was a warming up period for Joash. He loves watching fountains, but he's never been immersed in one.
So he took a couple of dry land breaks while he got used to the idea of water splashing him in the face.
Grandma proved quite skillfully how fun it is to goof off in a water park.
And he got braver and braver as the afternoon went on.
Bravest kid on the block.
We finished that day at the Peace River Wildlife Center in Ponce de Leon Park. Oh the things I never knew existed in my hometown.
Never one to shy away from homemade fun, Joash found a laundry basket to roll around in.
And he spent a decent while doing just that.
Oh, haha, and then we had a 5 hour onboard delay ahead of our already 13 hour flight. One of our pilots got sick, so we waited "an hour or so" (3) for a replacement to come. Taxied out to our runway and then had some mechanical failures. Figured it was a joke that someone was coming to fix it and that we'd be stuck in Detroit for the night, but eventually made our way to the back of the line and rounded out our travel time at that convenient 24 hours that I am always trying to incorporate into my lifestyle. As usual Joash does better than me, but that's not hard, because I go insane about 8 hours into high stress, low option situations. We put him to bed on the seat, but he woke up after an hour, crawled onto the floor and slept, off on and, for the rest of the flight with his head on his diaper bag. Nice!
See you next time, America, and hopefully that time to stay.