Welcome to Jackson's "Meet the Grandparents" Tour 2003 picture diary. Jackson turned 10 months on October 5 (during the trip) and for his birthday we decided to take him
on his first vacation. Not bad for only 10 months! We flew from our home in California to Kentucky and over the course of 2 weeks, drove South through Kentucky, Tennessee,
Alabama, and Florida before finishing the trip in Ft. Lauderdale and flying back home. What was the driving force behind this trip you ask? Simple, we haven't had a real
vacation in several years and Jackson has yet to meet the entire family. Check out the pictures below as we travelled from Louisville, Kentucky to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
We realized after we looked at all the pictures, that 90% are of Jackson....I'll have to work on taking picture of others as well. But until then.....
Stop #0: The plane ride from California to Kentucky
Even the plane ride from California to Kentucky was fun. Jackson was great on the airplane (entertaining the other passengers) and he loved the kids play zone in the Memphis airport during our layover. We made sure he ran all over the airport to burn up those reserve energy cells of his...and it worked. He was asleep within minutes of the plane taking off to Kentucky.
Stop #1: Louisville, Kentucky to visit with Jackson's Great Grandmother Jean
Jackson loved playing with Molly. Molly is a Golden Retriever and was great putting up with Jackson. After all, who wants a young kid to crawl all over your back and hit (playfully of course) you with a wooden spoon at times. Not to mention the pulling of ears and hair. Jackson had a great time visiting with him Great Grandma Jean as well as her friends (the O'Brians). He's never crawled around on a softer carpet. We visited Churchill Downs (Kentucky Derby for those of you not big into horse racing) and Jackson got to ride a pony around the track (see pics). Well, it wasn't a real horse and the track was virtual, but he liked it just the same.
Stop #2: Nashville, Tennessee to visit with Jackson's Great Uncle Philip
Just when Jackson thought he was free and clear from Molly in Kentucky, here comes another Golden Retriever with even more energy. Jackson, meet Montana. Next stop was visiting his great uncle Philip (he's going to love the 'great' part) in Nashville. I'm trying to teach Jackson that country music is bad for the ears, but he seems to like it pretty well (of course, since Mom plays it all the time). Montana would follow Jackson around the house and lick his 'entire' face at times....most hilarious thing I've seen. Jackson didn't mind too much, we would turn and jump the other direction when he saw Montana coming, but laughing the entire time as well. We even went and toured the Country Music Hall of fame. I don't know if Jackson was too thrilled, but he had fun hanging around in the backpack while we walked around and watched short takes on Hee Haw and listened to music. I think we'll have to make this a stop in the next trip.
Stop #3: Montgomery, Alabama to visit with Jackson's Lopez Grandparents and Great Grandparents
Beware Jackson, here come Honey and Beethoven. Yep, two more golden retrievers. The trip originated as a 'meet the great grandparents' tour, but so far it seems to be just as much a 'meet the golden retrievers' tour. Jackson met up with his grandparents, auntie, uncle, and great grandparents during this stop. Talk about hitting the family jackpot. We had to take a day off to play golf in the PICE annual golf tournament...a great time. Unfortunately, even though I was the top favorite to win (yeah right) I only walked away with a golf book (and that was via a raffle). Well, maybe next year....the course was definately worth playing. We spent the weekend at the lake house with everyone. That was nice and relaxing...away from the city lights...and there were trees and wildlife. Although Jackson was begging to go out on a waverunner or on the pontoon boat for a tour around the lake, he was happy just walking around the deck and playing with the Honey and Beethoven. Soon Jackson will have a new cousin to pal around with as Auntie Janine is due shortly. Now Jackson will have someone to blame when he gets in trouble.
Stop #4: Gainesville and Palatka, Florida to visit with friends - Jimmy and Jean-Marie
Beware Jackson, no dogs this time, but there are kids and deer. Jackson, meet the woods. He saw 4 inch grasshoppers, almost saw deer in the woods (could here them rustling around), and best of all, found some new friends to play with. He had a great time on the swings and playing in the playhouse. It was his first time on a swing and at first was a little timid, but after it swung back and forth a few times, he couldn't get enough. I swear I heard him say "higher higher". He had a great time playing in the playhouse also. He just liked walking in and closing the door and then opening it back up again and exiting the house. His new friends were having fun with him visiting too. There is something to be said for living away from the city and closure to nature..that's for sure.
Stop #5: Rockledge, Florida and the Kennedy Space Center to visit with friends - Kevin
Just when he thought he was far from any more dogs, here comes Bailey. Bailey's interest lied mostly with his ball and chew toy, but he would circle Jackson over and over checking him out. We stayed over night in Rockledge at an old roommates place and then visited the Kennedy Space Center. As you can see from the pick of Dominique and Jackson outside the KSC, Jackson wasn't too impressed. Maybe in a few years. He did have fun climbing on the shuttle (playground) and meeting an astronaut, but for the most part, he had more fun with Bailey.
Stop #6: Juno Beach, Florida to visit Great Grandma Sarah and Great Uncle Nick
The dogs and kids may be gone, but now there are fish everywhere. This was our last official stop on our tour....to visit with Jackson's Great Grandma Sarah. We even had a special treat by having Jackson's great uncle Nick in town to visit with. We stayed at Cannonsport Marina (previously in the family before being sold) so Jackson was able to play in the ocean and see all the fish swimming around the dock. The water was so warm and clear, we definately missed Florida. Jackson loved all his presents and even enjoyed wearing the wrapping paper. We took him to see some rescued turtles (no pics though) down the street from great grandmas and he got to play in the restaurant while checking which boat he wanted us to buy. As much as I'd like to get one of those boats, I think it'll be a few years before that happens. Jackson's favorite toys (always the cheapest) were the blocks and balloons. He was a little scared of the helium balloon at first, but then it was his favorite toy by far. We'll have to pick up a few for his one year birthday for sure....besides, I like the helium.
Stop #7: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to start the voyage home
What a trip...can't wait to tell all my friends at my school about all the fun I had and all the great grandparents I've now met. There wasn't a stop we didn't like....next trip will have to be twice as long so we can stop at all the same places and add a few to the list. Until next time......
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