July was a whirlwind. I had some anxiety about how it would all go down. Sometimes things work out on paper and seem like they would be fun, but then you get into the moment and realize it's not fun because you have too many children. This has happened to me quite a bit with my kids over the years. I remember when Nathan was about 4 months old, we went to a wedding in Colorado. Doesn't that SOUND fun? A wedding near the mountains. We even flew (that was a disaster, not the actual flight, but all of the transitions that it took to make it happen). After the wedding, we drove up to mountains and the ride was gorgeous. We were trying to get the kids to marvel at the beauty… but the kids were bored and carsick and asking if we were there yet. The nerve of them. Then we got up there, and our double stroller fit nowhere, not in any store in this quaint mountain town. We went in a candy store and took up the whole store and people were glaring at us. We ended up eating at McDonalds because we knew it would make the kids happy. Then we left. I think it was after that day that I decided to make our vacations kid-friendly and simple.
But now that Nathan is five (really, he's closer to six, but I don't want to talk about that), I've been itching to show the kids more of America. This summer we decided to do the big city, en route to a wedding in Michigan. And as long as we were heading to Chicago, you might as well stop in Branson.
It all started a week before we left, when Graham and Asher flew to Minnesota to spend time with my parents. Graham has gone the last couple of summers. This was Asher's first flight. He was so excited, until the day they were leaving. Then he started to get a bit nervous. This moment was right before the tears and ugly crying. I got in the car and cried too… sweet boys who love each other and crying because they will miss each other and miss home. It was a happy cry. I knew once they got there, it would all be fine. Graham had enough confidence for the both of them.
While they were in Minnesota, Samuel had the longest and hottest baseball tournament ever. Papa and Tandy came and cheered him on, and made it easier on me to keep these two entertained for four long days.
Once the tournament was over, the little boys and me hopped in the car and headed for Branson.
My friend Niki has 10 (going on 11) kids so they had lots of friends to play with.
Yeti's puts any snow cone place in Fort Worth to shame. Yum. And there's ice cream at the bottom!
The kids got to swim and I got to eat a cookie from the Bean.
Nathan spent some of his Christmas money on this. Adorable.
Samuel got to the do the ropes course. We were texting pictures to my mom so Graham and Asher could see that we were having fun too.
They were texting pictures to us full of their adventures.
The best part of Branson for me was catching up with my dear friend, Niki. Unfortunately we never got a picture of the two of us. But we did go to Starbucks every morning we were there. Because that's a very important part of our relationship… coffee and conversation. Nathan wasn't as amused with going to Starbucks every day so early in the morning.
Next up is the gazillion pictures of the Chicago portion of the trip.