We arrived home this Sunday afternoon from a week of family fun in Branson. Thanks to my Grandma's generosity, Tom and I and children, and my parents and siblings, were able to stay in spacious condo units near Silver Dollar City. As the kids get older and have more commitments, and with some of us in school and work, finding time to ALL be together is getting hard! This worked out beautifully.
Various cousins, aunts, and other adorable relatives were able to join us for some festivities as well. We wore ourselves out at SDC, boating on the lake (in which none of us females were successful in getting up on the water skis), flea market shopping (Hey, us girls are bargain hunters! And when we went to Starbucks afterwards we discovered we were all using gift cards-it was pretty funny.), miniature golf, go-carts, tennis, and lots of swimming.
The downer was/is that Hosanna has been dealing with heat exhaustion, so she wasn't able to join in as much. We've been giving her electrolytes and keeping her out of the sun as much as possible.
I did remember to bring my camera, but I forgot batteries. And never remembered to pick them up from the store. But, my brothers were taking a lot of pictures as usual so when they post them on Facebook I'll probably steal them.
Tom crashed his radio airplane. Poor guy, he never really learned how to fly it well and then the last evening we were there he decided to fly it...into the concrete. He thinks it's fixable. I'm not so sure.
I re-discovered my love for Almond Joys. Buying those mini size candy bars was a waste of time. I should have gotten the biggest size available! I think my body needs coconut. Or almonds. Anyway, I've been taking care of myself, that's for sure.
On vacations we make 98% of our food (Tom and I went out to dinner, once, with Mom, Dad, and Mara) and tend to stock up on things we don't normally keep around like chips, chocolate pudding, candy bars (Snickers actually have a lot of protein), Gatorade, beef sticks, etc. The kids loved it. I loved it (think: Almond Joys). Our family dinners consisted of meats that Mom had already cooked and brought along, such as sloppy joes, or shredded pork sandwiches. She's amazing like that! Then we all added our special sides. There was a lot of hodge-podge (it seemed like we consumed an unusual amount of pork: Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, bacon) but that's part of the fun.
During some of our downtime, in which we watched TV-I think there were about 8 to go around-I learned some new tricks for roasting chicken that I am dying to try out. I also watched 5 minutes of ,"The Man from Snowy River", "The Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe", "High School Musical 1 & 2", "Pride & Prejudice", and something with Bruce Willis. Now I remember why we don't have TV--
One, I would be addicted (I'm weak that way-esp when it comes to new ways to roast a chicken)
Two, It's a time waster (see number One)
Three, I'm not missing anything, when it comes right down to it (except a lot of stuff I don't want to know)
Four, what a lot of junk!
Five, the commercials are insanely long and usually leaving me wondering where everyone's clothes are and why they walk around in underwear, and
Six, Tom is way to busy to watch it anyway so with all those factors why have it?
It's nice for vacations, though. Especially when all the kids are watching Animal Planet with their mouths wide open during the "tapeworms and other disgusting creatures are living inside me" episodes.
I'm really grateful we had the opportunity to get away from Tom's crazy-busy-gone-a-lot work schedule, and hang out with no Internet, barely any phone, and a bunch of hilarious and wonderful people. Smiles all around!