Big Sky Country

With Max’s first birthday approaching, it was time to go home. Max is learning a very cool definition of home, whether it is temporary housing in Portland, a swanky hotel in Paris, an Airbnb in Barcelona, or our home in Amsterdam. From the minute he was born, home is fundamentally wherever he is with us. I grew up differently – not better, not worse. But to me, “home” will always be Montana. 

Of course, getting to northeast Montana is no easy feat from anywhere, let alone from Amsterdam! Grayson had to work, so we took advantage of Auntie Kara visiting in June and convinced her to re-route her trip home to stop in Minneapolis so I would have an extra set of hands on the long flight. Max has a severe case of FOMO, and didn’t sleep more than 20 minutes on the entire nine-hour flight. That’s right folks, 20 minutes in nine hours. The man across the aisle made the mistake of smiling at Max as soon as he got on, so Max thought they were best buds and wanted to play the entire flight. Luckily the kid is cute, and we survived the flight. Minneapolis was only half way there…we then had a three+ hour layover, a two-hour flight to Williston, and an hour drive to the farm. Uff-da!

“We got a good dose of farm boy put back into my Euro-baby.”

It was well worth it. Max loved the farm. We took it easy the first few days to adjust from the jet-lag, but Max seemed to adjust more easily than me! Papa Jon was itching the whole time to get the tractors out, and it was a fun day when that finally happened! We eased into it with the riding lawn mower, and then the Gator, and Max got to drive to Gopher Tail Dam and look for turtles. Then came the big boys. Little tractor, medium tractor, then the BIG tractor. And harvest is right around the corner, so why not bring out the combine?! Max was in seventh heaven. He also got to check the cows, and he got a kick out of that! He didn’t quite understand why he couldn’t pet them, though (silly cows). We got a good dose of farm boy put back into my Euro-baby.

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Nana and Papa pulled out all the stops at the house. Since they had only had two girls on the farm, they had to up their toy game. There was a barn, dinosaurs, combine, play mat, and froggie swimming pool. Max had his own bed, changing station, and new bowls, spoons, and bibs. He really loved being outside all the time. He also was just learning to walk holding onto hands, and he wanted to do it all. day. long. Papa became his go-to, mostly because he would never turn him down.

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We also had the fun of meeting lots of cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. His farm cousins Bennett and Natalie might have been his favorite as they played with him and entertained him non-stop (therefore, my favorites as well!). I never did get a good picture of the three because they never sat still long enough! My best friend from high school, Megan, and her daughter Molly stopped out to the farm, and Max adored Molly as well. I got the pleasure of meeting Molly’s new little brother Oscar when he made his appearance just a few days later, too! I went to the thriving metropolis of Plentywood for school (kindergarten – high school), and it was the 100-Year Anniversary while I was there. We took in the parade, Max checked out Cassidy’s, and I saw lots of old friends at the Street Dance.

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My Great-Uncle Jack passed away this last winter after a legendary 94 years. The Rasmussen family had a Memorial reunion in his honor – also while we were in town! Max got to meet his Great Aunt Janyth, Great Uncle Kent, and Great Aunt Ruth & Uncle Arvid, 10 of Papa’s cousins, 11 of my second cousins and their 15 kids, and Great, Great Aunt Betty. I am sure I am forgetting to count some (which ones, I’ll never tell!), but we got to see about 50 family members over a wonderful two days before we headed back home.

One of the many perks to our European adventure is that I don’t have a work schedule, and getting to stay home for a full two weeks hasn’t happened since I was in college. We even had an extra set of hands to fly back to Amsterdam – Nana’s! We really had to twist her arm to convince her to visit us over Max’s birthday… Max fell in love with the farm as I knew he would, and we can’t wait to go back with Grayson in September!

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