This week we had a chance to get away for our very first vacation as a family of four. John ended up taking the week off, so we scrambled to find hotel rooms and somewhere we could drive to relatively quickly. Branson seemed like the best choice. It turned out their "Season" was just starting, and it was not crowded at all. We stayed at the Hilton at Branson Landing, which is where I have been wanting to stay since it opened. Put this girl in a hotel room above a shopping center, and she is happy! :-)
Before we left, our poor Abby dog knew something was up. While we were loading up the car, she quickly escaped at took her seat.
Sadly, she got left behind with Mimi.
We drove straight into town, ate lunch and headed to Silver Dollar City. Hope remembered a lot from when we went with my sister and my mom last summer. She couldn't wait to show her daddy everything.
We learned pretty early on, that neither kid enjoyed riding in the stroller. Awesome. SDC is so hilly. Not fun carrying kids, drinks and pushing the empty stroller all over the park!
The most awesome attraction at SDC for our family...The ball place. Thousands of foam balls, guns to shoot them out of, tubes to vacuum them up...seriously, entertainment for HOURS for both kids. We spent the majority of both days we spent at SDC in this area. And, consequently, most of my pictures are off the ball area as well.
Hope was much braver this time. She loved Grandpa's Mansion, and rode a ton more rides than she would last summer. She rode the little roller coaster, the fast little pirate ships, and she was ready to brave the big pirate ship again. It was a complete disaster last time. It was not much better this time. She quickly recovered though, thankfully.
Daddy tried a new ride too. The Giant Barn Swing. John and I both love rides, and I will ride just about anything, but I am deathly afraid of this thing and will not ride it. John loved it. I love that he is the only adult in this picture. Look who's talking, the chicken.
I wonder how many candles my family has dipped at Carrie's Candle Shop. I have so many memories in that place. Some include Vince dipping one of my candles in black and saying it was an accident. Does anyone buy that? It still hurts me a little. He owes me a dollar for my therapy jar for that one.
Hope was so sweet (other than the few I'm WAY too tired to function meltdowns.) She would just stop and say "This is the best vacation ever." And "You're the best, Daddy." and "I love you, Mommy." She can melt a heart.
On day two, Hope and Daddy started the day with a trip down into the cave. I was was worried about her on the one hour tour, but she did great. She said she was going exploring. Daddy says she got scared a couple of times, but for just a few seconds and then she was back to checking it out. How many times has my family been down in this cave? Way too many. I am seriously okay if I never go down in it again. I could probably give the tour myself.
And here is the only proof I have that I was also on this lovely vacation. And, aren't I looking oh so lovely? Here we are trying to help Hope recover from the train whistle. Hope is very sensitive to loud noises, and the train passed us a whistled very loudly. Both kids were crying, but it took an especially long time to calm Hope down. (On a side note, I am seriously considering writing SDC a letter asking them to not toot the train whistle by the path to the Barn Swing...am I over reacting? It was really loud and every kid in the area was crying after that happened. We didn't go back to that part of the park for the rest of our visit either.)
Back at the hotel, we just kicked back and relaxed. Ahh. Noah loved being the King of the remote control.
I have no pictures from our last full day there. It was full of outlet shopping, go carts and Putt Putt. We all had a great time, and it was good for all of us to get away like that. It also makes me more confident that we can travel more. With John's job, we had a lot of opportunities to travel when Hope was little, but we came to a screeching halt when Noah arrived. Noah has yet to board a plane, so maybe that is the next test.
John and I were talking about family vacations and basically he asked me what I thought of them. Family vacations are absolutely my best childhood memories. (My mom always referred to it as QFT...Quality Family Time. We hated that term, but turns out, it was important. Yes Mom, bask in your glory for a moment...you were right.) There is just something about being together without the stresses of home and everyone enjoying our time together. I know as the kids get older, vacations will be even more important.