Love Overflowing

What I did on my summer vacation…..

Figuring out what to do on vacation is always hard for us. Especially with a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old.  A trip that would be fun, wouldn’t break the bank and somewhere with relatively decent weather. Not much to ask for right? Laughing now?  I think the issue that we struggled with was the travel with a 1-year-old. Zachary does not travel in the car very well.  We needed to find somewhere close enough that we could make the drive without spending all day on the road with half a dozen pit stops. Chattanooga seemed to fit the bill. So we booked the hotel and started looking at things to do there.

Fast forward a month or so. We had made several short trips to various places in Illinois. I am talking 2 hour trip tops. Those trips made us revisit the vacation destination. Chattanooga was an 8 hour drive. They only way we would/could make it was for someone to be heavily medicated. I am not sure if it would be the adult passenger or the child. Zachary seriously loses his mind after about 45 minutes to an hour. Think screaming and crying until he is red in the face. Only way to halfway calm him down is to rub his foot. And I wasn’t about to sit twisted in the front seat, rubbing a foot just to lower the volume.

Back to the drawing board. Somewhere closer. Minnesota? Too far. Chicago? Maybe. Kansas City? Been there, done that. Same with the Lake of the Ozarks. My sister and her family have been to Branson several years in a row. They rave about it.  “It’s so much fun. The kids have a blast.”

I’m going to be bluntly honest here. Branson isn’t our bag. We aren’t big country or gospel music fans. Shows aren’t our thing. Even if they were, Zachary would not sit still that long. But we decided to broaden our horizons and try Branson. Our options were limited and we thought we see what my sister was talking about. That and we bought dvd players for the car. After talking to several people, we decided that might make the trip more bearable. It did, for the most part. Still, Zachary gave up and got bored before his Yo Gabba dvd was over and started getting antsy.

The trip was fun. There is a lot of things to do, especially if you like country music and going to shows. Would we go back? Probably not. I think the thing that made the trip great was the hotel we stayed at. It was a vacation resort/timeshare. Two bedroom suite with an amazing pool. We would have spent more time at the pool but we just ran out of time. One of the days we had set aside for pool time was rainy. We still managed to spend some time soaking up the rays though. The hotel did have a downside though. The kids’ bedroom had a door that led to the bathroom. Imagine an endless loop. A race track, if I may. That’s how Zachary saw it any way. A race track with a door. A door to slam. Hundreds of time. And a dishwasher with a knob that he could spin and spin and spin. Never realized how important his little riding toys at home are. Drove us out of our ever-loving mind.

Did I mention that Zachary learned how to climb out of the pack n’ play? And he developed bronchitis? Oh yes. Thank goodness for Walgreens and a doctor that saw Emily the previous week with the same thing. This trip made me really appreciate his pediatrician and the fact that the kids do not share a room at home.

I am being pretty negative. The trip really wasn’t all that bad. Really. Look at the pictures. They tell a different story. We did have fun. We stopped at Bass Pro in Springfield on our way down to kill some time and let Zachary burn off some steam. That location is their flagship store. It’s huge! The kids loved looking at the animals. Monday we “Rode the Ducks” to Table Rock Lake. That was fun. Hot but fun. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves. Everyone even got a “quacker”. A lovely, ear numbing, toy that makes wonderful duck quacks. We did have fun using them on the ride. Stephen and Emily got in trouble with theirs at one point. Before dinner that day, we hit the pool. Loved the pool, did I mention that? Zero depth and the middle was 3 foot so Emily could touch most of the pool.

Tuesday was the rainy day. We decided that we would hit the outlet mall in the morning and Branson Landing after naps. The outlet mall had two major draws. Disney Store for Emily and Coach outlet for me. Money was spent. Branson Landing was pretty neat. Reminded me of a mall type. Lots of shops with brick “roads”. They had an amazing fountain. Smaller version of the fountains at the Bellagio. Or that’s what Stephen kept saying. They did shows to music. Stephen found a hot sauce shop there. He was a happy camper.

Wednesday was Emily’s choice. She wanted to go miniature golfing. That’s one thing that Branson doesn’t have a lack of. Miniature golfing and go carts. She decided that she wanted to go to the Hollywood theme one. Zachary even got a club. That I ended up carrying. It was pretty fun though. A neat course. It was so hot though. Even that early in the morning. We decided to have an early lunch so Zach could get an early nap so we could hit the pool. Snow cones and swimming. Pretty good day.

Thursday was our big, busy day. We went to Silver Dollar City. That was a lot of fun! Wasn’t sure if there was a lot for the kids to do but there was tons! Emily is so tall that she could ride pretty much every ride either by herself or with an adult. They even had several rides that Zachary could ride with either myself or Stephen. And the ball area. The ball area was awesome. Little nerf balls that you could shoot out of cannons and shove up a vacuum. We spent quite a bit of time in there. I would say that Silver Dollar City was the highlight of our trip. Everyone had a great time.

Friday was travel home day. You might notice that I never mentioned what we did in the evenings. Well, the kids were in bed by 7/7:30 each night. Some people might say “You were on vacation. Why the early bedtime?” Every one was done by then. Kids were tired and we were tired. Stephen and I enjoyed some time sitting on our balcony, watching the people in the pool. We even enjoyed some desserts after the kids were in bed. What they don’t know won’t hurt them. Didn’t have to share that way.

We really did have fun. It’s always nice to get away for a little bit from the every day grind. But it’s always  nice to come back home to your own bed, your own pillows and your own rooms. Zachary was very excited to have his bed back and get out of the pack n’ play. Although he did enjoy the fact that Emily would “rescue” him in the morning so he didn’t have to use any energy climbing out. That and the fact that the goldfish were at his level so he could sneak to the kitchen before breakfast and snack.

Now to start thinking about next year… Not. Hopefully Zachary will be a better travel buddy by then so we can expand our horizons.

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