Saturday, June 29, 2013

Back From Vacation

It has been one long week stuffed full of family fun, but we are home.  And soon it will be time to get back to work.  Our son will sleep in his own bed for the first time in over two weeks since our family vacation started about 3 hours after he got home from a week at Boy Scout camp.  I'm mostly glad to be able to take a shower in my own bathroom with good water pressure (our condo made some hotel showers seem great).

Last Saturday (6/22),I got up pretty early and rode my bike all around Jeff City with Walter before packing up.   Nice to get in 23 miles before vacation started.  We drove to Branson in the afternoon - making good time even with some traffic on the way into town.  We unpacked at the condo we rented for the week (great deal - $700 for 7 nights of 1200 sq ft 2 BR/2 B, full kitchen, laundry, etc with a pool across the parking lot).  My son got his own room, my daughter opted for the pull out couch and my husband and I got the master.  There were 3 TV's with cable - something we've not had for over a year so I think it was a bit of a treat.  This was my kids within minutes of unpacking:

Then we went out for pizza and breadsticks down the road.  It was a pretty half-ass version of a Pizza Hut, but we were all hungry so it was fine.  When we got back, the kids went up to the pool while I looked up some information on some of the things we planned to do for the week.  I walked over to check on them:

A moment where they weren't fighting - must have documentation!
Sunday (6/23) - got up and ate breakfast at the condo and headed down to Branson Landing (shopping area right on Lake Taneycomo).  Browsed around some of the shops and then headed to Springfield.  We caught the end of a tailgate our bank was sponsoring for Jeff City day at the Springfield Cardinals ballgame and had a quick hot dog lunch.  Then we went to the ballgame - and roasted in the sun in our seats.  We had gotten good tickets from the bank ($10 each just up from first base), but it was very hot.  We sat there about half the game, but then hid out in the shade near the concessions to watch the rest of the win.  We drank so much water (at $6/bottle). 

Family by the Branson Landing fountains (Lake Taneycomo just past the railing)

Thumbs up for good seats - not for the heat though

Daughter with "Louie" the Springfield Cardinal
Then we went to Bass Pro (the ORIGINAL one - big one!).  My daughter picked up a hat and my husband purchased a rifle he'd been itching for.  We headed back to Branson and stopped at Bob Evans for a nice dinner.  And my daughter went for a quick swim.

Monday (6/24) - breakfast at the condo again and then off to go zip lining!  I picked up a Groupon for all for of us to hit six lines at Indian Point.  We were led by two young men that were kind of ornery, but fun and took good care of all of us.  It was funny to see my 70 lb daughter jump off the platform and barely wiggle the line while the rest of us really added some sag.  We went back to the condo for a quick lunch and then the boys headed to the Veterans Memorial Museum while the girls hit the Tanger Outlets.  My daughter scored a lot of new clothes, I got a couple of things and a new duffle from Eddie Bauer.  We went to dinner at a Mexican joint and then we went swimming again.


Tuesday (6/25) - we headed for Tablerock State Park lakeside trail.  It was 2.2 miles from the visitor center to the marina on a mostly flat paved trail.  But the kids whined some which made it less fun.  They did love watching the "Ducks" launch (amphibious tour vehicles).  We had water and snacks, but the kids made it a long 4.4 miles.  My daughter and I ran a little bit on the way back though.  I think she liked the idea of being done sooner.  It was pretty hot, but the trail had a fair amount of shade which made it pretty doable.  Then we headed over to Moonshine Beach so I could get in a quick open water swim.  It was windy and I didn't enjoy the waves in my face.  But I got in a 0.3 mile swim.

Quick selfie with my girl at the half way point
After lunch at the condo, we hung out watching some TV and headed out for dinner at the Burger Shack.  They had fresh cut fries and the best super greasy burgers with all sorts of stuff you could put on them.  We headed up to a mini-golf place I had gotten a Groupon for, but then found out when we got there it was only good 10-5.  Ugh.  There was some more pool time after we got back.

Wednesday (6/26) - we took an hour trail ride (horses) through the Ozark hills and through Bear Creek.  There was a fair bit of shade on the trail.  We went to McDonalds for lunch and then back to the condo for a short break before going to an afternoon show at the Clay Cooper Theatre.  We saw Buckets and Boards - a mixture of percussion, song, tap dance, and comedy.  Matt and Gareth are a bit silly, but talented and put on a great show.  As we hit triple digit temps and high humidity - it was great to hide out in the cool theatre.  We headed to the Great American Chicken and Steakhouse (giant chicken out front) for dinner.  Food and service wasn't that great, but they had amazing cornbread.  I think there was some more pool time later.


Thursday (6/27) - we splurged on breakfast at the Belgian Waffle House though chose to skip the waffles that were listed as "served at room temperature" - eww.  Then we went to the Titanic Museum.  It was pretty interesting to see some of the artifacts and learn a bit more about the ship and its fateful journey.  I think the kids were slightly less impressed by it, but didn't complain either.  We had a quick lunch at the condo and changed into our swim gear to spend the afternoon at White Water.  We did all the water park things - slides, lazy river, wave pool, etc.  Dairy Queen for dinner.  I think my daughter hit the pool again.

Friday (6/28) - headed back to the mini-golf place and played 36 holes with a soda break in between the two courses.  Lunch back at the condo and then my friend Mary came by.  We visited for a bit and then packed up to head to the marina.  We rented a pontoon boat and ski tube for four hours.  The kids had a blast riding the tube, jumping off some rock outcropping, swimming around the boat and riding around Tablerock Lake.  It was pretty windy which made the swimming kind of tough.  I am quite sore from the swimming I did.  My watch only recorded about 450 yards of swimming, but I only turned it on for part of the time.  We turned the boat in and then went back to change our clothes and walked next door to a great Italian restaurant - probably the best meal we had all week.  Mary headed back home and we began running some laundry and packing up.
The only hole in one - go mom!

Son doing a cannonball off the bluff

Daughter jumping off the rocks
This morning our vacation came to a close as we had to be gone by ten.  We pulled out about 9:40 and got home in just under 3 hours.  It was a great break from our everyday life, but I have a ton of work to wade through this week and my husband goes back to teaching after the 4th.  We tried to squeeze in all the things everyone wanted to do.  I was glad that I managed to find a few opportunities to be active and offset some of the poorer food choices.




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