It is time for our annual trek to Branson for our family vacation. We were not going to go but then decided that since it was Beth's last vacation as a 'kid' we would go for it. It was our first without Bug and we were all kind of sad about it but looking forward to a new normal.
And...it was our first real trip in Kelly, our suburban. Excitement was abounding. We really though she was a lot bigger than she is and worried that we wouldn't get everything in her after all; but we prevailed with our beautiful game of tetris. Steven couldn't see out of the rear view mirror but who needs that anyway?
We found someone to house/dog sit (thank you so much Maraiah!) and off we went. Beau and Maggie were not happy with us but they were in good hands.
The six hour car trip went pretty well, considering. We made it all of 30 minutes with complete quiet in the car. Each child had their device and a movie or music playing and left us alone. It was glorious. Then, Steven and I couldn't stand the quiet so we put on some music! That brought out the natives and soon we were having a jamfest all the way to Joplin. I am sure we looked quite suspicious dancing around to every genre of music known to man! But hey, we were having fun.
In Joplin we stopped at Hardee's and gave the poor worker an aneurism with our order. We had no idea what we wanted and with six clueless people in the car, it was a nightmare. But, we did it and got everything we ordered! That is pretty awesome.
We took our food to go because we all just wanted to get there but no one thought about the whole drinking and eating and the lack of a bathroom. It was pretty unpleasant there for a while especially when we started on the hills. Lord have mercy, I almost wet myself. Steven decided to go almost 50mph when the posted limit was 25mph on the road into Big Cedar. I was praying and calling out for Jesus. No lie. I was scared to death.
We did make into the resort with no accident or loss of life. I wasn't too happy with my husband though. He had a smirk on his face-the turkey. He was quite pleased with himself but I was not impressed and may have smacked him while he drove. Not very safe but I was in panic mode.
Anyway, we arrived at Big Cedar ready to rest and have fun. Check in was easy and our room was great. We swam that night and then turned in for the night. Big Cedar has a quiet time in the evening so that everyone can have a relaxing time, theoretically. The people above us, however, did not believe in the contract they signed and they didn't care about anyone around them. Around 10 o'clock each night they started a mass killing in their rooms right above us. I think they even played bowling and frisbie tag each night. They were horrible. This was the worst part of our week-going to sleep each night. Or should I say, trying to go to sleep at night. EVERY SINGLE night they would jump, drag furniture, run, and do every other thing they could think of to make as much noise as they could. And we reported them every night. But nothing was done about it until the final night. By then it was too late. We were all sleep deprived and ready to be home.
I do love Big Cedar and we had a wonderful time swimming, playing miniature golf, and being with family but there are some issues they need to work out. They need to figure out how to enforce their own policies and make everyone's stay the way they portray it. It was frustrating to say the least.
A family nap was in order during the day since we couldn't sleep at night!
When Friday rolled around we were more than ready to get back to our house, the dogs, and our own beds. The 6 hour car trip took about 3 months on the return but who's counting? Oh that's right, my four children. Crankiness abounded in Kelly on our way home. There were tears, a few things thrown around, and more than one threat to throw someone out of the car. We again stopped in Joplin at Hardee's to eat and make a pit stop; which in hindsight should have lasted longer. We rushed too much in order to get back on the road and ended up crankier than when we started. It was thick in the car.
A few well-placed words by yours truly and everyone straightened right up with smiles and happy hearts. Not. Steven and I just turned our music up louder and they retreated into their music and/or movies. Aren't we great parents?! Hey, it worked. For a while.
After around 4 hours on the road we had another music fest that lasted all of 30 minutes then the never ending question started..."Are we there yet?" "How much longer until we are home?" And that was just from me! Other questions were voiced from the back of the car but we just turned the music up louder and louder until they quieted down. Heehee
With just an hour left we got slap happy. Things that were not funny reduced us to tears and Steven to shaking his head. It was crazy and fun and so completely us.
The last 30 minutes would have tried the patience of a saint, I am sure. It was a bit ugly and I don't care to relive it. Suffice it to say that we all stopped talking to one another and it was quite uncomfortable.
When we got home Beau was mad at Beth for leaving! I tried to warn her about it but nothing can really prepare you for your dog ignoring you. He will get over it.
I am so glad to be home and ready to sleep in my bed tonight. Here are some pics for you to enjoy!
Oh people, this is a sight we passed on the way and I made Steven go back so I could get a picture. 'The Pink Pickle'...are you even kidding me? It was just too much and we resorted to giggling like Jr. High boys! Me most of all. But when we passed the Nut Hut a little later, I couldn't even speak. Oh my word do people even think about what they are calling their businesses? Oh and that picture on the Pink Pickle sign...don't get me started. No, just no.
That was our vacation in a nutshell. It was nice to get away as a family. I am sure the girls took tons more pictures that I hope they will share with me. But who knows!