Sunday, September 20, 2009

Branson Part Two

We just got back from our second family vacation. It was VERY last minute. Originally, Josh was scheduled to go on a medical mission trip to Honduras this week. That trip was cancelled. Josh had already taken a week off, so we decided to make the best of it and take our family vacation. We enjoyed going to Branson so much last year, we thought we'd go back and do it all again!

This trip to Branson was very different. Perhaps the biggest difference was that Milla was safely tucked away inside my belly last year. This year, however, she hung out in her stroller throughout most of the trip. She did very well. She was so pleasant and happy, definitely a good traveler.

Here are some highlights from our little vacay...

We stayed in a condo that belongs to some family friends. It was WONDERFUL having all of the extra room that this place provided. We were also able to "eat in" more than last year. This was so nice. Milla had her own little bedroom. We enjoyed this setup much more than the hotel we stayed in last year. We are so thankful to Bentley and Jennifer for sharing their vacation home with us.

It rained the first few days we were in Branson. We were able to hang out, read books, watch movies, and relax for the first couple of days. We were blessed with lots of quality indoor time, which I think is a luxury when you are on vacation.

The condo had this fake fireplace that the kids found especially entertaining. It was one of those with fake logs and a real fire sound, but no heat. My favorite time at the condo was Wednesday night. The kids each picked songs for us to sing for our own church service before bedtime.

Here is a picture of Josh and the kids on the first morning of our trip. They were SO excited and kept making comments like, "It seems like a dream! I can hardly believe that we are actually on vacation!" Melted my heart...

On the front porch...

There's a story behind this tacky onesie. We drove across town to an outdoor shopping area for lunch. Unfortunately, Milla chose that moment to have a huge blowout EVERYWHERE! It was disgusting! We opened up the back of our Suburban and proceeded to peel off her dirty clothing. In all of the chaos of the day, I had forgotten to pack a change of clothing. Milla girl was wriggling around, covered with poo, totally naked at one point. We must have been a source of amusement for passers by in this very populated place. I put a diaper on her and covered her up with a blanket. We found the nearest store (Bass Pro Shop) and bought Milla this lovely souvenir.

The second night we went to this AMAZING museum, The Titanic Museum. When you entered, they gave each person (even Milla) a boarding pass that had the name, age, and history of a person who was actually aboard the Titanic. At the end of the museum tour, you got to find out whether your person lived or died. We couldn't take any pictures inside the museum. It was fascinating! It was my favorite thing we did the entire time we were there. I learned so much!

Here we are outside the Titanic Museum.

Here we are inside our condo. Milla the fuzzy head spent much of her time crawling around and getting into things.

She really loved to talk to her friend "Baby" in the mirror. She would laugh and laugh at herself.

She kept doing things like this, grabbing onto things and maneuvering her way around. What a cutie!

On another day, we took the kids mini golfing at a Dinosaur themed Golf place. It was something to do while we were waiting for the main attraction... Silver Dollar City.

Milla looked on with interest. She sat up in her stroller and watched everyone hit their balls.

On Thursday and Friday we took the kids to Silver Dollar City. They LOVE this place. Mary Alice and Major were giddy with excitement about the whole experience.

This is just a corner of Silver Dollar City where we rode our first roller coaster last year and this year...the much loved Fire In the Hole.

These pictures make me laugh. This ride, unbeknownst to me, shot you off like a rocket. It was very unexpected. Here we are waving at Josh. "Hey Maje! Wave at Daddy!"

Suddenly we took off! Yikes! Serious whiplash!

Mary Alice and I screamed our heads off for the rest of the ride. Never again! (for me, at least)

These pictures crack me up. Mary Alice was a little apprehensive about riding this particular roller coaster. I think Josh is trying to tell her just how much fun she is going to have. She isn't buying it. The girl rarely makes a scowl. She is almost always cheery. She was pretty worried. FYI, After the ride, she couldn't wait to go back for more! She rode the ride at least two or three more times.

One sleepy Milla, hanging out in her stroller

Major and I are having fun while waiting for Josh and Mary Alice to ride one of the roller coasters that Maje was too small to ride.

Another funny picture at the end of the day...

Fun at night...Mary Alice kept making Milla laugh! These kids are best buds.

Day Two at Silver Dollar City...

Here we are at the Old Fashioned Schoolhouse for a little bit of learning...
There was a picture of George Washington at the front of the classroom. The teacher wasn't talking about George Washington, yet Major wrote this (in invented spelling)on his slate:

"George Washington with a wig"

After the visit to the schoolhouse we took a tour of an underground cave. It was steep and slippery. I was SO glad that Josh was the one holding Milla. We didn't get any pictures of this because Josh was holding Milla and the camera, while I held the hands of the other two kids. The cave was spectacular and reminded me of the greatness of God and the many facets of His creation.

Crazy Maje (Both kids grew increasingly crazy each day of our vacation.)

A Dad and his girl

The last night of our trip we met our friend, Beau, and his son, Grant for dinner. It is always fun seeing old friends. I think, by the time this picture was taken, Grant and Milla had both had enough of this business!

Here we are looking at the light show that they do each night. What a fun place to hang out! Milla was mesmerized! Mary Alice and Major danced around and played in the fountain.

We drove home yesterday. We were blessed to be able to stop through Searcy and see my sisters and brother-in-law. On the way home, we played fun games like "I'm Going On A Trip" and another game that the kids introduced to me. I don't know where they learned it. (maybe their Aunt Hannah?) It was a silly story game "I Realized It Was Only A Dream". We had lots of good times listening to them giggle. We are so thankful for the much needed getaway that this vacation provided. We had a great time!

Good memories...Fun times...It's good to be home...


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ma and Pa's Day Out

Today we ventured out to our favorite little pioneer village. Nestled smack dab in the middle of a crowded urban area, this quaint little village is a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city. The weather was great. The school crowds were absent. All in all, it was a perfect day...

Milla and Mary Alice girl both wore their bonnets...

Milla liked her old fashioned baby doll...Good enough to eat!

"Ma" in the kitchen, cooking up some goodies... She kept bossing "Pa" around. Life without modern conveniences made "Ma" a little cranky with her hubby.

Grinding up some coffee... I love my guy!

At the feast that "Ma" prepared for "Pa"... (When Mary Alice first put this hat on Major, he quickly threw it off because he thought it was a girly hat. Major was okay with wearing it once the woman working at the cabin explained that it was actually a farmer's hat.)

Gathering eggs...

Doing some gardening...

Pumping some water into a bucket...

Chilla Milla...

Recess in the park...:)

Best Friends...

Mary Alice and Major learned so much today! This was definitely worth the trouble of dragging three little ones out during the day. The kids were much more interested than I thought they would be. They peppered the workers with questions. The staff was very patient with our family. We stayed at each cabin for such a long time. I feel as though I pretty much have the whole place memorized and can give a detailed account of each and every artifact in the village. :)

This picture was taken this afternoon. Milla has started trying to climb up our stairs. What a rascal! Let the child training begin!