Independence Day – On the Road

This fourth of July, we flew up to Kansas City to see Craig, Susan and Michael for the weekend. Amazing to think that it’d been over a year since we’d been there, and Graham looked like this at the time:

This time:

Along with the obvious height difference, Graham now sports a whole barrel of fun party tricks and personality traits. But let’s start at the beginning. It’s a very good place to start.

At the airport, Graham was greeted by his welcome crew: Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle Michael. While Andy and I attempted our traditional derring do in the airport parking lot (a.k.a. installing Graham’s carseat in a strange car), Graham entertained Uncle Michael and Grandma by chasing them around the empty parking spaces and introducing them to his encyclopedia of babbly words – all while eating a cereal bar. It was here that Graham was introduced to his man of the moment: Elmo (pictured above). His welcome gift to Kansas City from his adoring family. Elmo – or “Mo-Mo” as he has come to be known – has quickly climbed the charts to full-on ‘lovey’ status. Kitty seems jealous.

Mo[Money]-Mo[Problems] (Sorry, I listened to more Biggie Smalls in the 90s than I originally would’ve thought) is a carseat buddy, Cheerios-sharer and bunkmate. He goes to daycare with us, parks in Graham’s cubby for the day, then comes back home with us at the end of the day. This is getting serious.

Graham chatted us the entire hour car ride back to the house. On the way, he made up a song (I guess you’d call it?) where he sticks his hand under his chin, does a sort of funky chicken move with his elbow, then claps his hands together and says, “EP!” We have no idea what this is, and boy have I ever tried to get it on video, but it has stuck – he’s done it several times since.

Our days were spent visiting together. During our stay, we saw Grandma Vena, Aunt Mary, and Sue, Dave and Lindsey while we were there – not too bad for three days! We swam in the pool, colored chalk on the driveway, blew bubbles, played with all of Uncle Michael’s old toys and ate, ate, ate. Susan and I even got quite a bit of shopping in – 40% off sale prices at the Gap, thankyouverymuch!

Graham learned the word “pretty” in reference to Grandma’s necklace. He also made and shared many pretend meals with Michael, using Michael’s old plastic picnic set. One night at dinner, Graham was reading books at the table and – I don’t know what happened – but a book took the knees out from under Craig’s wine glass very suddenly, so The Hungry Caterpillar and the Going to Bed Book both got a nice red wine bath along with Graham, the kitchen table and the floor. Awesome.

There was a parlor palm that Graham took a shining to, after he realized there was a pot full of beautiful moist dirty dirt right at waist level. He got more than a couple fistfuls onto the floor at a few different times throughout the weekend, but it was okay, because when Grandma got out the vacuum, he helped her vacuum it all up. So… helpful, that one.

The fireworks were a complete success. Andy and I weren’t sure how it was all going to go down, given Graham has a notorious track record for losing his ever-loving mind when he’s tired. Oh, and screaming at the top of his lungs at loud noises too. But nope. The fireworks were a complete success. Craig had bought a few glow necklaces for Graham to play with during the twilight hour – a definite hit, and once the fireworks started shooting off, Graham looked up from his glow bracelets and just… stared. Quietly. Wide eyes. Mouth, open slightly. For the entire half hour. I took a picture from my cell phone and – thanks to Photoshop – I was able to crank the brightness all the way up to get some very hazy detail on an otherwise pitch black photo. It’s a terrible picture, but you can see that precious look on Graham’s face. Priceless.

At the end of the fireworks show, the audience clapped. We did too, of course. Graham just sat there staring. Then, everyone started gathering up their blankets and chairs, and that’s when it happened. We heard it. Softly at first. “yayyy.” Then it grew louder. “Yay!” Then Graham started clapping. And yelling. “YAY!! ….. YAY!!! …. …. YAYY!!!!!” Over. And over. And over.

Aaaaaand over. No kidding. Graham clapped and cheered those fireworks so long that people around us started looking and chuckling. Then laughing. Then they started motioning toward G to point out the adorable little kid who just saw fireworks for the first time and to whom the entire experience was just sinking in until he realized that ‘this… was… AWESOME!!!’ I finally scooped my “YAY”-ing child and walked him – clapping all the way – out into the parking lot and strapped him into his carseat. Success.

As for the details, the pictures say it all. You can find them on the Photographs page. Link below!


  1. Thanks Debbie for the beautiful summary of a fun time together! You posted lots of great pictures, and I also love the grainy one of Graham watching the fireworks.

  2. What a great time and many wonderful memories!
    Amazing difference one year has made, and the fun is just beginning!

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