I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Ohio some (cough) years ago. I had never been to the state before, or anywhere near it for that matter.
Oddly enough, I now live in Ohio.
And so does one of my companions!
Annette and I were companions in the small town of Kirtland during the summer, where we gave tours of the church history sites there to visitors. Every summer Kirtland holds a Strawberry Festival (basically just a small town carnival on the grounds of the high school that includes a booth selling strawberry shortcakes). The summer we were there, we were sent to volunteer at the festival for a day and were put to work serving strawberry shortcakes to customers. Since we are both here, for the time being anyway, we decided we'd best revisit our old stomping grounds together. Once we realized that the Strawberry Festival was coming up it was a done deal. So we packed up our little families and each drove a few hours to meet up there for the day.
We met up in Hiram, Ohio first to do a tour of the John Johnson Farm. Annette served here, but I had only been there once before, so we were both excited to go there.
Just before we started a tour, a church member, Melissa Goshe, who I had become friends with while serving in Kirtland showed up. She had been in Hiram for work and realized she hadn't done the tour there in ages, so she stopped in and ended up getting there just at the right time. Definitely not an accident! It was really fun to see her and have her join us on our tour.
Next we drove to Kirtland. We got lost on the way and Grady got motion sick and threw up in the car...but we made it there eventually!
Grady had NO interest in participating in the family picture. He screamed and twisted and ran away, so we gave up. We did get a nice shot of just me and Matthew, but I thought this one was worth remembering.
Me and Annette
Annette's sweet family
We found out at both places that going on a tour with toddlers is not exactly the easiest thing. All I could think to myself was, "Oh my gosh...we are so those people now! The ones on the tour with the screaming kids." We eventually figured out a tactic that worked: switch kids. When they were being held by someone who was not their parent, they would freeze up, be quiet and behave. (Poor Annette and Richard got the raw end of the deal because Grady is way heavier...)
After our short tour we headed up the road to the festival, where we got dinner and Grady tried his first carnival ride. We thought he would love driving in that little jeep.
Aaaaand. Nope. He cried about half of the time. He was so concerned about the jeep right behind them, which would slam into theirs occasionally. He turned around and stared at it most of the time and every time it would hit them he burst into tears.
And of course we had to get our strawberry shortcakes! It's hard to believe it's been 8 years since that summer. Makes me feel OLD.
Still, glad for the fun memories, both then and now!
P.s. They still have sister missionaries serving the strawberry shortcakes. :)