Heck, yeah! Summer vacation. The last time I took one of those, I was seven weeks pregnant, got a nasty head cold and spent approximately 96 percent of my time in a dark room watching a marathon of a show I’m embarrassed to mention (and only about four total hours on the beach). Thanks to the oil spill, my family relocated our vacation to Big Cedar Lodge, which is just outside (drum roll, please) Branson, Missouri. Now, I’ve grown up being kind of a snob about Branson (Fawn, I’m sorry. Also, I had no idea people actually came from Branson.). Probably has something to do with the obnoxiously cheesy Silver Dollar City commercials we in Little Rock grew up being subjected to. But the fact that the drive is less than four hours long definitely had its appeal.
Summer being the busier season for the cycling business, it’s pretty tough for Trevor to get time off (Wait, it’s ALWAYS hard for Trevor to get time off. Richard, are you reading this?). Being a crafty gal, I came up with the plan that Trevor, Sadie and I drive up on Sunday, meet up with my family at Big Cedar on Monday, and Trevor could drive back to LR on Tuesday, which meant he only had to take one day off from work. To be fair, I was all, “Let’s go camping!” and Trevor–often the voice of reason–convinced me to stay in a hotel in town. Considering that the heat index was eleventy billion degrees Fahrenheit, this was a good call. So that’s what we did, to much success. Sadie and I stayed on with my family until Thursday, leaving me with a luxurious long weekend doing mostly normal things with Sadie before going back to work.
Being the awesome person I am, I failed to pack spare batteries, so when my rechargeable batteries turned out not to be recharged at all, I resorted to my phone as camera (let’s ignore the fact that when I was unpacking, I discovered my battery charger was in my bag the entire time). We’ll also ignore the fact that the only photos I’ve been taking in the last few months have been with my phone because I’ve been too lazy to charge batteries. AND the fact that I could have surely found four AA batteries, for a princely sum, of course. Hopefully some of the pictures taken by various family members will make their way onto my hard drive. Because I suspect there are some cute ones of Sadie with her cousins.
So! Our trip, more or less:
Sunday night, we went down to Branson Landing. It’s a kind of pedi-mall on the White River. There were lots of shops and places to eat, and we wound up eating in this restaurant that was actually on the river. Why I didn’t think what this would mean to a person like me, I don’t know. But as soon as Trevor pointed out that the light fixtures–and, really, everything–were moving, I knew I was in trouble. Sure enough, by the time I was writing in the tip amount on the receipt, I knew I had to get the heck out of there, or I was going to lose my “Hunter’s Meatloaf.” Sadie had a blast, of course. She’s recently learned how to drink from a straw, so every glass of water on the table pretty much becomes hers. She had a freaking death grip on this one, and did some serious ice crunching.
After dinner, we walked along the river and paused to look at some ducks.
They’ve got this “fire and water” show at Branson Landing, which was pretty cool. This is not the fountain, because we had to skeedaddle as Sadie was a little freaked out by the giant bursts of flames coming from these metal tubes. After this, we headed to Marble Slab for ice cream. This has been my favorite chain ice cream shops since my friend moved to Dallas and I first got to try it. I always get the same thing–chocolate Swiss with cherries. On our stroll, Sadie was more than a little obsessed about all of the babies we saw. She kept pointing, saying, “Bay-bee? Bay-bee!” There was this one little girl walking around with her parents, and Sadie stood stock-still, arms outstretched, beckoning the kid to come to her. Finally, Sadie just ran up and gave her a hug. Fortunately, the girl’s parents though this was cute, especially as Sadie continued to harass her until they went out of reach.
On Monday, we drove to what the map suggested was Branson’s zoo and aquarium. We weren’t sure if we really wanted to go to a zoo or not, but Sadie fell asleep in the car, so we figured the drive was worth checking it out. Um, no. We didn’t even get out of the car. We headed back to downtown for lunch, and then we decided to head on out to Big Cedar Lodge to wait for my family to get there. The building where registration is located has this awesome table of tinker toys. Sadie was all too glad to stick them in her mouth. And to stand in the seat, of course. She likes to stand up on things that she apparently knows she shouldn’t and says, “Shit.” I’m sure she means “sit,” but it’s pretty cute. And slightly nerve wracking.
We had dinner at the fancier restaurant at the resort on Monday night. Sadie is stinking cute in her new moccasins, isn’t she? They’re a little big, and she won’t really wear them until it’s cold anyway, but it was fun to have her wear them a couple of times. Dinner was, shall we say, a total nightmare. Our reservations weren’t until 8:00–already a catastrophe in the making. Then, the table that was supposed to seat all 20 (21?) of us wasn’t ready. I don’t know what time it was when they finally seated us, except that it was meltdown time. Luckily, we were with family who were willing to give us a break from trying to keep Sadie happy, so we were able to scarf down our meals and get out of there.
We played a little miniature golf with the little cousins while the older kids did this Kids’ Camp thing. Miniature golf is on the very short list of things I suck at yet completely enjoy doing anyway. It was crazy hot, though. We kept the babies cool by strolling them into patches of shade as we found them.
Boating! On both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, we went out on Table Rock Lake on a couple of party barges. I was a wee bit nervous about how Sadie would react to being on a boat for four hours. As you can see, it was a hit. The first day, she wasn’t so crazy about getting in the lake with the life jacket on. She didn’t seem to mind it when we were in the boat, but once we were in the water, she wasn’t a happy camper. Wednesday was a different story. She really seemed to like watching the water as we sped through it. And I can’t even imagine what she thought at the sight of me tubing.
(Aren’t her little crossed feet the most nomable things ever? I swear, this must be a genetic habit–my feet are crossed the same way right now–and pretty much all of the time. We are ladies.)
In all, it was a totally fantastic vacation. Sadie had a blast with her cousins, and it was so much fun to watch her interact with them. Hopefully this will be something she gets to do ever year.