Monday, March 30, 2015

BRANSON: SILVER DOLLAR CITY

A couple of months ago, my brain hatched a little idea.  At the end of Spring Break, we would sneak away to Branson for a couple of nights and do Silver Dollar City and a couple of other fun things.  I decided to see if any of our friends wanted to join us, and much to my surprise and delight, several families wanted to come!  We ended up finding a cabin where we could all party together for a long weekend full of food, fun with a side of crazy, because we had 15 kiddos in the mix.  14 of them were six or younger.

But - I can confidently say that we had an amazing time!  Were there some harried moments?  Absolutely!  Are we tired?  Most definitely!  Did our kids think this was the best thing we could have ever done?  Without a doubt.

We arrived in Branson late Thursday afternoon and enjoyed checking out our new digs - it had 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and 3 levels.

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We divided up meal prep among the families, so we brought CFA for everyone to enjoy that evening. After getting all the children in bed, we adults LOVED having time where we could hear ourselves talk and think.  We played games every night, which was such a treat!

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Only 3 of the 4 families were there on Thursday night, and we all headed to Silver Dollar City on Friday morning.  The weather was a flashback to winter at a brisk 40 degrees with sprinkles and lots of wind.  Our first stop once we got into SDC was to go on the Marvel Cave tour.  Now - I have been to SDC several times in the past 10 years and never once did I realize that there was a MASSIVE cave there.  We knew it would be warmer down there, so we decided to take the plunge.  It really was huge - they said the Statue of Liberty would fit inside the Cathedral Room.

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Amazingly enough, we descended and ascended the 30 story climb without much fanfare.  Normally, you get to ride a train out, but because the back half of the cave was flooded, we got to do the extra work.  We parents decided the positive peer pressure helped the littles, and several of us got major workouts while we hauled toddlers down and back.

We emerged from the cave to enjoy the rest of the day riding rides, getting tasty treats, occasionally shivering and observing the stares we got from passing people trying to figure out our group.  It easily could have been a small day care, and because we all pitched in and helped with any child who needed it, no one could tell whose children belonged to whom.

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(They are both 4.  She is a bit on the tall side, and he is a bit on the shorter side.)
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The flowers were still blooming despite the chill in the air.
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At one point, we split up and some of the guys took their older children to ride bigger roller coasters. John ended up with us, because none of our kids wanted to ride big rides.  So, we moms were taking the four year olds on a little roller coaster, and we all needed to ride.  John was left with this group.  Bless his heart.  He took it like a champ and said everyone did great.

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We went with the some of the best possible people on this little adventure.  We obviously have children close in age, and everyone has a similar mode of operation and flexibility.  It worked remarkably well to have a group this size, and I would totally do it all over again.  It was so much fun!

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Part Two of our Branson Spring Break will post tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BIRTHDAY FUN

Yesterday, I turned 34.  I'm officially in my mid-30s, which feels very anticlimactic.  My skin knows it's true, though.  The fact that I can still be prone to breakouts while also battling wrinkles feels a bit unfair.  No one tells you this is how it might be.  So, for everyone reading this that is younger than me - this sad truth is a real possibility.

Moving on.

My birthday was a good, normal day in my life.  We have a BIG FUN trip coming up in a couple of weeks and a LITTLE FUN trip coming up in a couple of days, so yesterday needed to be pretty run of the mill.  It was packed with moments like this: laundry basket over the cat courtesy of Lily, much to Violet's delight.

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The weather did seem to be celebrating me, and I basked in it all day.  We had lunch with friends down by the river, and I was amazed to see how big my kids all look sitting at the table.

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Yesterday was also the first time I realized that this is what the world probably looked like on the day I was born, which was a wonderful thing to imagine.  I was born about 10 minutes from where I live, as were each of my children, all at the same hospital.  So, it was fun to think about 34 years ago there might have been flowers budding on some of these same trees the day I entered the world.  It. is. so. beautiful.  Truly.  Spring is a good time to have a birthday.  I'm addicted to the flower pictures.  I can't stop.  I won't stop.

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Last night was our normal D-Group night, so I finished out my birthday with some of my besties - always a good way to go.  There was a make-your-own-pizza dinner (including goat cheese!) and birthday cake for dessert.

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All day long, Facebook brought wonderful friends and acquaintances out of the woodwork to tell me "Happy Birthday," and my phone kept dinging with sweet messages.  Though my day was fairly ordinary, it struck me how sweet my ordinary life is at this stage.  I am richly blessed with family and friends that I adore and so thankful for the privilege to spend time with them.  Life is good, and I'm looking forward to what this next year will hold!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DAFFODIL DREAMING

Sunday afternoon we took a quick trip to Wye Mountain.  This week has a lot going on, and it seemed like the best time for us to make it happen, so off we went.  It started raining on our way out there, but thankfully, the rain cleared up during our visit.  It was still a bit gloomy, but the daffodils have a way of making almost any weather seem bright.  I love this annual tradition!

First things first, we tried to get a family pic.  The field was empty of people besides us, so I did a self-timer.  Normally I am pretty good at this, but this time, they were all kind of wonky.  Either way - I love having one of all of us.

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Getting a good shot of all children was next to impossible.  They are so squirmy, and I forgot all bribes.

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Then we just let everyone run around in the field, which is what they wanted to do anyway.  So much fun to be had in a field full of yellow flowers.

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(Lily's trying to show Violet how to dance.)
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It is nice that as your children get older, they are sometimes willing to cooperate for photos.

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The littles really liked playing games, which also makes for cute photos.

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(Violet is "shaking it" with the flowers.)

I picked William up, and John got a video of how William likes to give kisses.  He's fully committed.



Our pilgrimage to the field at Wye Mountain is one of my favorite Spring traditions.
Here are past years!
{2014} - has pics from all the years, even before the blog, in this post
{2013}  {2012}  {2011}