Several years ago we drove to a beach house in North Carolina and, at the end of the road trip, we wanted to keel over and die. Meredith was three and Clara was 14 months and it was insane. We constantly were handing them toys and trying to entertain them in the car. It was exhausting. This time, on a road trip to Branson to meet up with my parents for a mini-vacation, the kids were such troupers! We turned on an audio book and handed a doll to Sophia and they never complained once. Sophia is the best three year old traveler in the world. Carson did great and only cried about getting in his car seat toward the very end of the trip.
On road trips, business for daddy doesn't always stop. We left our house at 4:00 a.m. and planned a long stop at 10:00 a.m. so Kevin could make a telephonic court appearance. So, here are Clara and Carson waiting patiently, so Kevin could have complete silence in the car. You gotta love these modern times.
We were thrilled to see my parents, who live so very far away. We miss them lots. It's wonderful that the kids feel so close to their maternal grandparents, and talk about them often, despite the distance. But visiting in person is the best. My dad treated us to the "Joseph" production at Sight and Sound theater. It was pretty awesome. I was impressed by the dream scenes and the production's display of the grandeur of Egypt. The voice talent was also incredible.
The girls' great-grandpa, whom I hear reads this blog sometimes ("Hi, grandpa!"), gave the kids each $10. Since I am always telling them, "No, you can't have that today," they were thrilled. They felt like they were millionaires.
This was the first time Sophia remembers going to a theme park and she especially loved the rides. Here is my dad crammed into the little elephant ride with her. Sophia always tells us, "I love baby animals," and she especially loves baby elephants, so this was a dream come true for her.
My youngest sister, Melissa, was there too, and also my grandma who lives in southwest Missouri. Kevin, Melissa and I took off for the afternoon to go ride all the big rides. It was so fun to be carefree and ride roller coasters for an afternoon, let me tell ya. If you want anything to snap you out of your stay-at-home mom life, where you take four little kids with you everywhere you go (nothing is fast and quick and spontaneous), roller-coaster hopping with two other big people is a pretty good solution. The BEST and most crazy roller coaster was a new wooden coaster called the Outlaw Run. CRAZY TIMES. Even Kevin screamed the whole way. I started screaming and I couldn't stop screaming. Then at the end I started laughing and I couldn't stop laughing for like five minutes. There was one point in the ride where we started dropping and then it felt like we were going down at an inverted diagonal, and then we were spun into what seemed like a jillion cork screws. Crazy, crazy. Here we are. We survived!
On Sunday after visiting a cowboy church (yes, can you believe we did that?), we went for a nature walk at a local dam and then to a fish hatchery nearby. I really had no idea how fish hatcheries work and it was interesting to learn.
Here we are, putzing around Branson, after eating at a diner where the servers would periodically burst out in song. Someone said that Branson is like a Christian Las Vegas. That pretty much sums it up perfectly.
By the end of the trip, Carson was pretty sleep deprived. He is such an easy baby right now. Clara propped him up on the hotel bed and he put himself to sleep.
The view of the Ozarks from the hotel porch was gorgeous. It was fun to eat breakfast out there. We also enjoyed the dessert bar every night!
Clara spent some of her money from great-grandpa at Cracker Barrel. We are big Cracker Barrel people, especially on road trips.
Taking this little spring trip was just what we needed. We really needed the break! It was good to get away, see my family, and have some fun with the kids!