Thursday, September 26, 2013


We went on our first family vacation this summer. We haven't been on an actual vacation in like four years, and it was before kids. So needless to say we were pretty pumped to be going somewhere, anywhere. Since Little A is at that stage where she pretty much hates being in the car for a long period of time we didn't want to have a lot of drive time so we kept the trip pretty close to the area, at least in-state. We still managed to cram A LOT of stuff in.

We started at a lake south of us that was about half way to our next destination. Our state has these awesome little cabins that let you feel like your still camping, but they have air conditioning and a bed, and if you have kids, the most awesome feature was the little loft built above the porch.
Our pre-teen nieces came up for the evening and they played in it almost the whole time they were there, and then our 3 1/2 yr old son was up there most of the evening. He and Husband played catch while he sat at the opening and tossed a foam ball to Dad below.  We grilled burgers and roasted s'mores on the camp fire and while I fully intended on getting back up after laying down with Big A, so Husband and I could have some kid free evening time, I never woke back up...

The next morning we fed the fish at the nearby marina and then played at the lake. It was pretty crazy, apparently the area had been having a lot of rain for like the past three days, like flooding rain, like an Interstate had to be closed kind of rain. On this particular day we were lucky enough that it wasn't rainy, just a bit cloudy, but because of the previous bad weather we had the entire beach to ourselves. It was almost creepy, like we hadn't gotten the E-Coli notice or something. But is was also great - we had the ENTIRE beach to ourselves!

Little A explored the water edge, and if she kept her binky in her mouth I was able to keep her from eating sand and rocks and Big A practiced his swimming. After having lunch at the lake we headed on down the road to our next destination, coordinating our driving with nap-time.

Next on the agenda was the zoo, this was a particularly small zoo but it was still fun. Peacocks were allowed to roam free and one had it's feathers in full display. They are so pretty. Big A enjoyed the reptile exhibit and Little A just had fun cruising around in her stroller. We had dinner with some family and stayed the night at their house.

The next day was our big day - we were headed South again for a ride on a train! Big A is enamored with trains, so I really wanted to schedule a train ride as part of our vacation. Branson Scenic Railways does a train ride on a really neat diesel train. It was a little long for Big A, about halfway back he was getting pretty bored. We had explored the whole train, purchased a snack at the concession train, turned on the water in the bathroom...there is really only so much you can expect out of the attention span of a toddler, but he still loved it and I'm glad we did it. After the train ride we met our friends at Silver Dollar City. Husband and I hadn't been there in years and it was so much fun. Our friends have a son the same age as Big A and they were two peas in a pod. We had a great time and probably didn't explore a 1/3 of the park. They made us a great dinner that night and the kids played really well together all evening so we finally got in some adult time, with real adult conversations and Margaritas. It was lovely.

Day Four we headed to the Discovery Center. It was a neat place for kids to explore and Big A had a good time. We had lunch with our friends and headed down the road to our last destination - Big Brutus. I was not familiar with Big Brutus. Husband had gone there as a kid in school and remembered it being awesome. And since Big A is really into big machines he was really excited to show him Big Brutus. The kids slept the entire way there which gave Husband and I a nice long drive to just talk and enjoy the quiet. As we were getting closer to our destination Husband kept saying we would be able to see Big Brutus on the horizon and I teased him that maybe Big Brutus seemed big when he was a child. Alas Big Brutus did not disappoint. It was enormous and Big A loved it. We got to climb up in it, although to Husband's disappointment you can no longer climb all the way to the top of the shovel. It was a great end to our adventures.

We finished the week with a trip to Husband's Aunt and Uncles house for some famous fried chicken we picked up on the way and of course a little train play. Big A has become a big fan of our visits here, mainly because he is pretty much the center of attention when we visit. We stayed at Grandma and Grandpas that evening and another evening after that. Husband and Big A got some fishing in and it was a nice wind down to the trip. Those two nights were the first two nights we slept in the same place twice! We came home on Friday to have the weekend to recover which was much needed to get the kids back on schedule. I think they had grown accustomed to napping in the car and everyone was grumpy Saturday. Time for a Home Depot Trip! By Sunday we were back in the groove.

It was a whirlwind of a trip, but we had so much fun. We packed a lot of stuff in to a few days but I'm really glad we got to do everything we did. Big A had a blast and returned to preschool on Monday wearing his Big Brutus t-shirt.